Ten months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, we continue to see waves of Puerto Ricans continue to reach the mainland to restore and rebuild their lives in cities across the country. Coalitions like Abrazo Boricua have come together to help make the transition for these families as easy as possible.
But let’s be frank: in the absence of federal, state or local assistance, community groups can do little. We do everything we can, but these families live in the limbo of a deadline from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the next one. A judge has just granted a second extension until August 6, but until a permanent solution is implemented, many displaced Puerto Ricans run the risk of ending up in the streets.
The Government can help end much of this uncertainty by activating the Disaster Housing Assistance Plan (DHAP), a measure that provides permanent housing for people displaced after a natural disaster. DHAP was activated after hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Rita, but not for Maria.
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