The Federal Emergency Management Agency says that two dozen Puerto Rican families who relocated Hartford will no longer be eligible for housing assistance on Monday because inspections showed little or no damage to their homes in Puerto Rico.

Only days after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would pay for dozens of hurricane evacuees to stay in a Harford hotel until mid-February, state officials were told by FEMA on Thursday there had been an error, and that several of the families had to vacate their temporary housing. 

State officials say that several dozen Puerto Rican families who were at risk of losing federal housing assistance could now have their stay in Connecticut extended until mid-February.

Xiomara Vega moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico with her three-year-old daughter after Hurricane Maria knocked out the electricity in her home. She’s trying to make a new life there, but she doesn’t want to forget her old one. And celebrating Three Kings Day -- the Christian holiday also known as the Epiphany -- is a big part of that.

A representation of Los Tres Reyes from Puerto Rico. Three Kings Day is an important celebration among Latino families in the U.S., and is both a religious and cultural celebration.
National Museum of American Art

After Hurricane Maria, thousands of Puerto Ricans who never planned to leave the island are spending their first January 6 -- also known as Three Kings Day -- in the cold, snowy northeast. 

KendraLiz Gonzalez had been in cosmetology school for only two months when Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, destroying her school. So she took her twin girls, hopped on a plane, and came to Hartford, where she's staying with her aunt.

Merely Torres-Garcia has been living in a hotel room in Hartford, Conn., with her husband and two kids after losing part of her house in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria. She said spending the Christmas season in the northeastern cold has been hard for her family. But on Saturday night, in the noisy atrium of Hartford City Hall, it felt a little bit like Christmas on the island.

"My kids are happy. We feel like home in here right now," she said.

Nearly three months after Hurricane Maria, parts of Puerto Rico are showing clear signs of recovery. But in Vieques, a remote island with nearly 9,000 residents eight miles off the main island's coast, recovery is a long way off. There, some live in dingy conditions as they wait for help to rebuild, while others gather what they can to do it themselves.

Gregorio Velazquez Rivera, an 81-year-old who is blind, has left his destroyed home — which is totally unlivable — virtually untouched in the months since the hurricane.

Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Daderot / Creative Commons

Students who relocated to Massachusetts from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands because of Hurricane Maria will be immediately eligible to pay lower in-state public higher education tuition rates under a proposal unanimously approved on Tuesday by the state Board of Higher Education.

The Puerto Rican effort to advance from response to recovery after Hurricane Maria continues. For some, water and electricity are still elusive. And that makes it hard to get back to normal — especially for children.