Evacuees seeking a place to live in Florida after Hurricane Maria wrecked their homes in Puerto Rico will get another two months of a program that allows them to use federal vouchers to live in hotels or motels.

FEMA has extended the Transitional Shelter Assistance Program, set to expire Jan. 13, to March 20, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando announced Wednesday.

FEMA extended to program at the request of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, recognizing the tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans who fled to Florida in the past three months, but arrived in regions where affordable housing is scarce. Latest word from the Florida Division of Emergency Management is more than 300,000 people have traveled from the island to Florida since early October, though no one is certain how many have stayed.

“I would like to thank Puerto Rico’s Governor Rosselló for requesting and FEMA for approving a 60-day extension to the TSA/Hotel Voucher program,” Soto said in a news release. “This will help thousands of recent Puerto Rican families relocating to Central Florida with temporary housing. We will continue to work with the Puerto Rico Government to get a direct lease program and make sure we provide adequate housing assistance for those Puerto Ricans still in need.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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