Puerto Rican families at risk of becoming homeless

Puerto Rican families at risk of becoming homeless if voucher program ends. (WPEC)

Dozens of Puerto Rican families living in FEMA sponsored hotels are at risk of being homeless as early as tomorrow.

On Tuesday U.S. Congressman Darren Soto from Central Florida requested FEMA extend the housing voucher program until the end of the school year.

Yomara Rivera evacuated from Puerto Rico a month after hurricane Maria barreled through the island.

“I was 34-weeks pregnant and it was a high-risk pregnancy because there was no power,” Rivera said.

Rivera started a new life in Palm Beach County after giving birth to her three-month-old daughter Leyra at Wellington Regional Medical Center.

“I wasn’t able to get FEMA assistance, so there were a lot of nonprofit organizations who heard my story and they were able to help me in a lot of different ways like shelter, food, clothes for my girls,” Rivera said.

According to FEMA, more than 4,000 individuals including children are living in FEMA sponsored hotels all across the sunshine state. For some, their vouchers expire February 14th. Others have until March 20th.

“I think it will be much help if they extend the vouchers because these people probably don't have a place to go to if they go back,” Rivera said.

Rivera is concerned the deadline would force children to move yet again affecting their home life and their schooling.

“I think they should give them a chance to finish school here. Another change would be devastating for them not only that but they probably lose the school year,” Rivera said.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel sent CBS 12 this statement:

"Puerto Ricans are still rebuilding their lives after a devastating hurricane season. Continued lack of power and food on the island makes it difficult for residents to return. Extension of the housing voucher program for those living in Florida is an imperative."

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