displaced Puerto Ricans

UCF Establishes Research Hub For Puerto Rico

Sep 19, 2018
Matthew Peddie, WMFE

As Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Maria and evacuees from the island settle in Central Florida, the University of Central Florida has created a Puerto Rico Research Hub designed to identify solutions to challenges and issues affecting the community.

It’s been a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico. Recovery continues on the devastated island, but transitions are also happening here in Florida, where many residents evacuated and some have chosen to stay.

Many Puerto Rican’s lost everything when Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017. Tens of thousands of people made the decision to take what belongings they had left and travel to the mainland. Many have started new lives in Central and South Florida. These new Floridians already have had significant influence on political races, the public school system and affordable housing.

This week on Florida Matters, we'll hear the stories of two people who chose to make the Tampa Bay area their new home:

Puerto Rico National Guard by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos

Like many Puerto Ricans who fled to the mainland after Hurricane Maria, Jose Santiago has been scrambling to find a place to live. The federal vouchers that pay for his hotel room near the Orlando airport expire at checkout time Friday.

Puerto Rico National Guard by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it didn't handle housing vouchers for displaced residents of Puerto Rico any differently from those of displaced Texas and Florida residents after last year's hurricanes.

Population growth in Florida is below projected census expectations and is slowing down overall. 

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico last September, Julio Ildefonso and his mother watched as their wooden home in Bayamón was blown away.

Puerto Rico National Guard by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos

A judge has stopped FEMA from ending its housing assistance program for Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricane Maria. 

The federal program that has provided hotel vouchers to Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria will end on Saturday, and advocates are worried some Tampa Bay families will be left with nowhere to go.