Hurricane Maria destroyed about 70,000 homes in Puerto Rico when it struck the island territory in late September. Four months later, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is still housing about 4,000 Puerto Rican families totaling around 10,000 people in hotel rooms in 42 states. The hotel program is scheduled to end March 20, but hotel residents' homes remain too damaged to re-occupy.
"After the hurricane hit we told the kids that every day was going to be an adventure, but not like this," said Enghie Melendez, a Puerto Rican living with her husband and three children in a hotel room in Brooklyn. "This is turning out to be really hard," she told The Associated Press. "The instability is terrible."
Like thousands of other Puerto Ricans, Melendez and her family came to the U.S. mainland after the storm, first staying with relatives, then in a homeless shelter, and now in the hotel. They are uncertain of what comes next with the March deadline looming. "My kids were in a Manhattan school. We would wake up before 5 a.m. at the shelter to take them there," Melendez said. "Now they are in a Brooklyn school. Where will they be tomorrow?" Bonnie Kristian