PUERTO RICO

Evacuees from Puerto Rico gather in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, facing a housing crisis.
Greg Saulmon / The Republican / MassLive.com/photos

Hurricane Maria evacuees from Puerto Rico won’t be evicted from temporary housing on Friday. A federal program offering assistance will get a funding extension until May 14. 

The entire island of Puerto Rico lost power Wednesday morning-- its second major outage in a week.

Evacuees from Puerto Rico and activists gathered in Springfield Thursday.
Christopher Ayala / NEPR

In the wake of an island-wide blackout, evacuees from Puerto Rico living in western Massachusetts gathered Thursday at the Springfield offices of U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to call for a housing solution. 

Six months after Hurricane Maria, evacuees from Puerto Rico are still looking for affordable places to live. And they’re looking to the government for help, particularly through available public housing, but they’re not getting it.

It’s mid-March and Hartford Public High School teacher Bridget Allison goes over essay-writing tips for her fourth-period class. After a while, she checks in on a group of students who are seated together — a few of the evacuees from Puerto Rico.

Hartford’s hurricane relief center was where evacuees from Puerto Rico could come to get help: help finding housing, jobs, winter clothing -- whatever supplies or services they needed to restart their lives in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda held a “Rally And Lobby Day for Puerto Rican Families” Wednesday in Hartford. The event was put on at the Capitol to get support for a disaster relief bill proposed in the House of Representatives.

Holyoke Public Schools

Schools districts in Massachusetts that have been educating students recently arrived from Puerto Rico will soon be getting a portion of $15 million in state funding. 

Amarilys De Leon, at right, and her daughter, Mayrangelique Rojas De Leon, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Among the thousands of people who left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit last year, many have come to New England. And for a variety of reasons, they won’t return to the island.   

Updated 12:46 p.m. ET

A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that the agency's plan to end its distribution of emergency food and water in Puerto Rico and turn that responsibility over to the Puerto Rican government would not take effect on Jan. 31.

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