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Reversing Its Decision, FEMA Tells Puerto Rican Evacuees To Move Out of Hartford Hotel

Carmen Cotto and Wanda Ortiz read through emails sent to them Thursday afternoon when city officials were trying to work out logistics for the families to stay at the hotel after FEMA funding ended that day. Photo by Ryan Caron King for WNPR

Only days after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would pay for dozens of hurricane evacuees to stay in a Harford hotel until mid-February, state officials were told by FEMA on Thursday there had been an error, and that several of the families had to vacate their temporary housing.

That left Wanda Ortiz scared she’d have to check out of the hotel in a matter of hours. She’s been living there with her daughter and two grandchildren. Carmen Cotto, another evacuee living there, translated for her.

“She’s scared she’s going to end up in the streets,” Cotto said, translating. “Because she’s called — and the shelters are full.”

Cotto said she was was told by hotel staff around noon that she, Ortiz, and several others had to leave the hotel by 3:00 pm.

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