Any Hurricane Maria evacuee who walks into a Hartford relief center gets a warm meal, some winter clothes, and a pair of boots for trudging in the New England snow. That goes a long way for someone displaced from the tropical weather.
The center, which has served over 1,100 evacuees, may soon have to close.
The Capital Region Education Council, or CREC, rented space on Van Dyke Avenue in Hartford after Maria leveled Puerto Rico.
“Are we willing to stay [open] a little longer?” said Aura Alvarado, CREC’s director of communications and community relations. “Absolutely, but we don’t have the funds to do that.”
Alvarado said the relief center was supposed to be temporary. For now, it will remain open until the end of February.
Governor Dannel Malloy visited the center on January 3. He was invited by CREC and local leadership to have a look at what the relief center does for Maria evacuees.
“I think Hartford is going to have to have a center and we’ll look at what that issue specifically is,” Malloy said. “It was made available literally overnight and CREC has stepped forward and done a great job.”
With money tight, both Alvarado and Malloy acknowledged that any resolution from the state would have to be a creative one.
To date, the relief center has raised $140,000 for evacuees.