Hurricane Maria evacuees get extension to stay

Marieliza Figueroa spent Friday morning wiping tears from her eyes, trying to keep it together, as she, her special needs 19-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son packed feverishly.  

"So this is our last day here, we have to be out by 12 to check out," her son Pedro said.  

Their FEMA TSA Hotel Program Voucher for Puerto Rican Hurricane Maria evacuees expired Friday morning.  The family of three has been living in the studio hotel room since December. They were all moved out and homeless for two hours, by the time FEMA announced it would extended the program until May 4.

Good news for the 600 other families of evacuees who will now not be forced out of their hotels.  But, still not good news for the Figueroa's.  The family tells FOX 35, FEMA told them since their voucher had already expired, they'd need to reapply for the temporary housing voucher program.  

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson along with other local leaders held a round table discussion with several families of evacuees, to hear the difficulties these families are still facing.  The News Station took the opportunity to tell Senator Nelson about the Figueroa's dilemma.  

"We'll see if we can't stream line it for them.   That's going to be a daunting task if they have to start over," Senator Nelson said.  His staffer immediately reached out to the Figueroa's and FEMA.  By the time the meeting was over, the Figueroa's FEMA TSA voucher got re-instated.   "Thank you for being on it," Senator Nelson said.

The Figueroa's are now checked into a different extended stay hotel.  The family has an apartment lined up, but it will not be available for the family to move into until mid June.