Federal judge extends FEMA hotel vouchers for Puerto Rican evacuees until Aug. 6

by

comment
PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
A federal judge has again ordered FEMA to extend its hotel voucher program for Puerto Rican evacuees, this time until midnight on Aug. 6

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman directed the federal agency to extend its Transitional Shelter Assistance Program until July 23 for about 1,200 Puerto Rican households displaced from the island by Hurricane María. About 600 of those families were staying in hotels across Florida.



The initial extensions from the court came after LatinoJustice PRLDEF filed a lawsuit against FEMA, alleging the federal agency "arbitrarily, capriciously and unlawfully" cut off the hotel voucher program for Puerto Rican evacuees after eight months, unlike its response to victims of other natural disasters. FEMA says it will not comment on pending litigation.

On Thursday, Hillman again directed FEMA to continue providing TSA housing aid until at least midnight on Aug. 6, which would allow Puerto Rican families to stay at hotels until checkout time on Aug. 7.



"FEMA is working with its vendor and notifying participating hotels that the TSA program has been extended to comply with the court’s order," the federal agency said in a statement.

Hillman also scheduled a hearing for the case on Aug. 1.

"We are pleased that Judge Hillman has extended the TRO again and will be holding a hearing," said Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, associate counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF. "Evacuees continuing to experience anxiety and fear over the possibility of eviction by FEMA, who has failed miserably at ensuring disaster victims receive basic care and housing, now have several more weeks of shelter."

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.