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Judge Extends FEMA Maria Emergency Aid And Sets A Hearing

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Boxes stack up at Katherine De La Rosa's temporary hotel room. She left the island because Hurricane Maria made her home uninhabitable.

A judge has again ordered an extension of FEMA’s temporary shelter program for displaced Puerto Ricans. The judge is giving families until midnight August 6 to stay in hotels. That means checkout would be on August 7.

Advocates for those affected by Hurricane Maria are calling on elected officials on the mainland and on the island to call for longer-term housing assistance. Krizia Lopez Arce with Organize Florida said working families have no home to return to. She said the families still in the hotels are there because the storm destroyed their homes.

Advocates are calling on FEMA to activate the Disaster Housing Assistance Program. FEMA has said its addressing rental housing needs through a similar, different program called “Direct Lease.” That housing program is only available on the island.

A federal judge scheduled a hearing on the issue for August 1.