Evacuees from Puerto Rico face intense housing shortage in Florida

Many are being forced to sleep in cars while waiting for FEMA housing

(United States Department of Defense)
(United States Department of Defense)

Evacuees from Puerto Rico, fleeing the long-standing power outage caused by Hurricane Maria, are settling in central Florida and finding the tight housing market increasingly strained.

With about 160,000 evacuees arriving since early October alone — many of whom landed in Orlando’s metro area — the state has been struggling to find housing for the new arrivals. About 26,000 people frequent the state’s three disaster-relief centers, but many more are still looking for shelter with some forced to sleep in cars, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Though FEMA is processing temporary housing applications, many are relying on acquaintances and family to make ends meet for the time being; in some cases for individuals in great need, FEMA is sending people to hotels.

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“We unfortunately have not been able to meet demand,” Jeff Hayward, president of Heart of Florida United Way, told the Journal.

[WSJ] — E.K. Hudson