WNPR

Sen. Blumenthal: FEMA Reports Could Be At Odds With Accounts From Puerto Rican Evacuees

Jan 22, 2018

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.

On a conference call on Sunday, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said FEMA told him there is electricity, safe water, and minimal structural damage in all of those 24 homes. But Blumenthal said he’s heard different accounts from some of the hurricane evacuees living in the hotel, so he’s pressing the agency to show him the inspection reports.

On Friday, several hurricane evacuees spoke at a press conference at the Red Roof Inn where dozens of families have been living under the FEMA program.

Yara Vasquez came to Hartford after losing her home to the hurricane. Speaking through a translator, she said her family has been living in a constant state of fear.

“We don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen to myself, to my children,” she said. “It’s very challenging -- not knowing what’s going to happen day to day. Can we stay in the Red Roof Inn? Can we not? Those are the questions that keep coming up, every single day.”

The state of Connecticut will pay for the families to keep living in the hotel until February to give them time to make more permanent arrangements.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had previously said it would extend assistance till mid-February, but that offer was abruptly revoked last week.