Finding the next steps in helping Puerto Rico evacuees

Western Massachusetts communities continue to search for the best way to help people coming in from Puerto Rico.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) –  Holyoke accepted the highest number of people coming from Puerto Rico in the state in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Four months later, resources are running low.

FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance Program ends for good March 20. If an extension of funding isn’t granted, some people are getting kicked out of their hotels February 14th.

22News went to a community meeting to see what leaders think they can do to help.

“A lot of them have skills already, but we need to work on the English and the language skills. That’s what we hope to be able to provide for some of them.” says Darlene Morse, the Program Director of Holyoke Works

The goal of the meeting is to help Puerto Ricans acclimate to life in western Massachusetts as well as help them figure out what’s next in their living situations.

“It might not be a permanent space, but maybe it can assist them in just trying to get to know which communities they want to live in and also moving forward”, says Betty Medina-Lichtenstein, the Executive Director of the Enlace de Familias Resource Center in Holyoke and the organizer of the meeting.

The meeting is a first step in helping evacuees use community resources to support themselves in a new home.

Web Extra:

Wednesday, January 24th MGM Springfield is holding an information session for Puerto Rican evacuees in partnership with New North Citizens Council to discuss jobs and help with resumes. Starting at 9:30 a.m. located at the MGM Springfield’s Career Center at 1259 East Columbus Blvd in Springfield.