Thousands of Puerto Ricans displaced by hurricane won’t lose FEMA housing just yet

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A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Federal Emergency Management Agency from ending a housing assistance program for Puerto Rico residents displaced by Hurricane Maria.

Nearly 1,800 Puerto Ricans were expected to move out Sunday from hotels on the island and the US mainland but Judge Leo T. Sorokin, of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, ordered FEMA to extend the program until midnight on Tuesday, according to court records.

The order will allow families to stay at least until check-out time on Wednesday, the judge explained. The temporary injunction comes after national civil rights group LatinoJustice PRLDEF filed a class action lawsuit in an attempt to block the eviction of the evacuees.

“There is no question that FEMA’s response to Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria has been woefully inadequate and unlike responses to other natural disasters experienced in the U.S.,” Kira Romero-Craft, managing attorney for the group’s southeast office said in a statement.

Romero-Craft also said the idea that too much has been done for evacuees is false.

“We must continue to care for the most vulnerable members of our community to ensure the safety and not further endanger their lives,” she added.

A hearing on the case has been scheduled for Monday.

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