Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) has written to FEMA administrator William Long asking for a further extension of the TSA (Transitional Shelter Assistance) program for people displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.
The TSA program, described in Soto’s letter as the Temporary Shelter Assistance program,provides temporary housing for victims of natural disasters after shelters have closed. This program is funded under the Stafford Act.Shelter is normally provided for 5 to 14 days, but FEMA says, “FEMA, in conjunction with the State, may extend this period of assistance, if needed.”
The TSA progam for victims of Hurricane Maria was set to expire in March. It has been extended to May 15, 2018, but Soto is requesting that the program be extended till June 30 to allow children to complete the school year in their current schools. This extension, he says, “will provide stability and needed relief” for evacuee families.”
3,580 families are affected, in 41 states as well as in Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. territory.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio are among the others who have asked FEMA for extensions of the program. Governor Rossello has also asked for a separate program for Florida that would last longer.
Rossello says that he continues to negotiate with FEMA for the extension through the end of the school year.
Recovery in Puerto Rico has been very slow. Many homes are still damaged, with tarps for roofs. Water and electricity continue to be unreliable.