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Not Enough Housing For Puerto Rican Evacuees After Maria, Central Florida Leaders Say

Damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Photo:  Puerto Rico National Guard by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos
Damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Photo: Puerto Rico National Guard by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos

Central Florida leaders say the region lacks enough housing for an anticipated influx from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

The leaders say "there is a strong potential for chaos" as tens of thousands have arrived from the U.S. island territory since Maria, and more are expected.

They are calling for planning and resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida Department of Emergency Management.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Brandon Arrington and John Horan, chairmen of the Osceola and Seminole county commissions, voiced the concerns in a letter to the agencies.

They cite needs for long-term housing and also education, health care and transportation.

The Department of Emergency Management says it is working to ensure the needs are met. Central Florida is home to one of the nation's largest Puerto Rican populations.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.