ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Today is the last day federal aid for housing will be provided to Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria.
Many families are still struggling to afford housing in Central Florida.
The Episcopal Church of Jesus of Nazareth they are raising funds to help 44 Puerto Rican families still struggling to find long-term housing in Central Florida.
September 20 will mark one year since Hurricane Maria struck the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and reaching a level of destruction that left residents without access to electricity and clean water for months.
Thousands of families lost everything and fled to Florida.
Now nearly a year later, many of those survivors returned to the island or found places to leave in Central Florida.
“It wasn’t easy,” Eli Berraos a Hurricane Maria survivor said. “Took me months before I could move.”
But local officials said 44 families are still in need of aid.
“Some of these are working families that have nothing,” Father Jose Rodriguez of Episcopal Church of Jesus of Nazareth said. “They have been in and out of the hotels. Many of them are elderly and simply can’t afford the high Orlando rents and we have many who are disabled, special needs children and some mothers with newborns.”
Church officials said these 44 families have made Central Florida their new home and want to stay.
“It’s terrible,” Berraos said. “They are my people and I feel for them. I just want all the people affected by Maria to bounce back and have a better quality of life. I just wish they could find some place to live because they shouldn’t be on the streets.”
Father Rodriguez said his heart breaks for these survivors who lost everything in Hurricane Maria one year ago and no with federal housing aid ending on Thursday, they are on the verge of losing everything again.
The Church is still accepting cash donations. Right now they said they will run out of funds in five to six days.