Puerto Ricans coming to western Massachusetts, escaping hurricane destruction

Nearly all expected to stay with friends and family

holyoke puerto rico license plate
This mural outside Holyoke City Hall depicts a Puerto Rico license plate, as a salute to Puerto Rican heritage in the city.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts is preparing for an influx of residents from Puerto Rico.

There was massive destruction in Puerto Rico last month, when Hurricane Maria roared through the island. Many Puerto Ricans are now planning to temporarily stay on the U.S. mainland, while they wait for their homes to be rebuilt.

Area schools could see new students from Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria

Holyoke City Councilor Nelson Roman told 22News that so far, the only Puerto Ricans coming to Holyoke will be staying with family and friends. He said that if Puerto Ricans come to the area without a place to stay, they will likely help them find housing in shelters that are already up and running.

“We would, of course, refer them to the Worthington Street Shelter, or places that already exist, Loreto House, Margaret’s Pantry for those services, but we think that will be miniscule if not none, because the majority of folks come here to stay with friends and family,” Roman said.

Roman said they are still trying to figure out how many Puerto Ricans will be coming to Holyoke.

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