Hundreds of people from Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands could soon be on South Florida streets

FEMA program housing displaced people ends Monday

MIAMI – Hundreds of Puerto Rican families and families in the U.S. Virgin Islands living in South Florida after Hurricane Maria could end up homeless come Monday.

"A crisis is upon us and we have to act now as a community," said Luis De Rosa, of the South Florida Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce. "The media has to get the word out. It is very serious."

Hundreds of families from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who were displaced by Hurricane Maria nearly a year ago could soon be left out on the streets, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency program housing the displaced people in motels across the state ends Monday.

"Puerto Ricans should not be treated as second-class citizens," Borinquen Medical Center CEO Paul Velez said. 

Currently, 900 displaced people from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still depending on FEMA's housing assistance in Florida.

Activists point to the lack of affordable housing options and are asking Gov. Rick Scott to step in.

"It's a crisis upon us," De Rosa said. "All we need now is a new number of homeless folks from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the streets. What's that going to cost?"

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