News & Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 19th, 2018

CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, cperez@latinojustice.org , 212-739-7581

Erin Williams, ewilliams@faithinaction.org, 202-748-0699

WASHINGTON – After reviewing filings from both sides, Massachusetts Federal Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman today issued an order extending the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) directing FEMA to continue providing Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA)  to evacuees from Puerto Rico until at least midnight on August 6th (enabling Plaintiffs and the class to stay until checkout time on August 7, 2018.

Judge Hillman directed that a further hearing will be held on August 1, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at which time the parties may present witnesses and other evidence in support of their case.

Plaintiffs in the case are represented by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, and the Law Office of Héctor Piñeiro.

“We’re grateful that the judge is granting FEMA more time to do right by these families by activating DHAP now,” said Denise Collazo, Chief of Staff for Faith In Action. “These short-term extensions are helpful, but FEMA has the tools that can put people on a more permanent path to rebuilding their lives.”

“We are pleased that Judge Hillman has extended the TRO again and will be holding a hearing. 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,” said Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

“Unlike FEMA, which has consistently disregarded the well-being and tranquility of displaced Puerto Rican families, Judge Hillman has done the right thing by extending the time that families can continue getting the housing aid they need, and by properly considering the case before him on their treatment,” said Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU and steering committee member of VAMOS4PR. “We are hopeful that once he hears all evidence in the case, he will hold federal agencies like FEMA accountable for mistreating and disrespecting families that have endured so much since Hurricane Maria, and at the hands of fickle and callous authorities.”

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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 45 local and state federations. For more information visit www.faithinaction.org.

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, originally established as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) in 1972, is one of the foremost national nonprofit civil rights legal defense and education funds working to advance, promote, and protect the legal rights of Latina/os throughout the nation. Our work is focused on addressing systemic discrimination and ensuring equal access to justice in the advancement of voting rights, housing rights, educational equity, immigrant rights, language access rights, employment rights, workplace justice, and the discriminatory effects of the criminal justice system, seeking to address all forms of discriminatory bias that adversely impact Latina/os. LatinoJustice PRLDEF supports self-determination and a process of decolonization for Puerto Rico.

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