Gov. Malloy Calls on FEMA to Immediately Reverse Decision Cutting Off Temporary Housing for Puerto Rican Families
State will Provide Assistance to Ensure the 36 Families are Able to Temporarily Stay in Current Housing
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator William “Brock” Long calling on the federal agency to immediately reverse their sudden decision to rescind Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) housing benefits that had just days earlier been extended for 36 Puerto Rican families currently residing in Connecticut since being displaced from the island by Hurricane Maria.
At noon today, three days after the state was informed by FEMA that its request to extend TSA eligibility had been granted through February 14, FEMA notified the state that the extension had been sent in error and the families were once again ineligible for TSA and would be forced to vacate their hotel rooms.
Despite FEMA’s unexpected and damaging reversal, the state will provide assistance to ensure the 36 families are able to temporarily stay in their current housing.
The full text of Governor Malloy’s letter is below:
January 18, 2018
The Honorable William “Brock” Long, Administraton
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20472
Dear Administrator Long:
I write today to request immediate reversal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) sudden decision to rescind recently-approved Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) benefits for 36 Puerto Rican families who have been residing in Connecticut since being displaced from their homes by Hurricane Maria.
On January 11, 2018, the State of Connecticut formally requested a two week extension of the TSA hotel program for households of displaced persons from Puerto Rico deemed ineligible by FEMA for further assistance after January 13. On January 15, 2018, the State of Connecticut was informed by FEMA that its request to extend TSA eligibility for the 36 households had been granted through February 14. Today, just three days later, the state received notice from FEMA that notification of the extension had been sent in error and the families were once again ineligible for TSA. We were notified of this “error” at noon today, and subsequently learned that as of 2:00 pm – just 2 hours later – families had begun receiving orders to leave their hotels immediately.
This about-face is outrageous and unacceptable, and because of your agency’s abysmal management of this situation, 36 families – all of who are American citizens – are now, with no warning, being told by FEMA that they have no place to live.
All things considered, it is hard to come to any conclusion other than that the federal government sees the United States citizens who inhabit Puerto Rico as second-class.
At the very least, I urge you to correct this egregious error and immediately grant a TSA extension, through February 14, to these 36 families. The State of Connecticut has welcomed our fellow citizens, including at least 1,972 students into Connecticut schools and has gone above and beyond to provide an array of state services and disaster case management. The federal government has an obligation to these citizens as well. If FEMA’s decision stands and you displace these 36 families from their temporary homes, it will be nothing short of tragic.
Put simply, this needs to be fixed immediately.
Dannel P. Malloy