Nine months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, there are an estimated 300 families still living in hotels in Massachusetts with FEMA and the state footing the bill.
But that changes at the end of June when this assistance expires. Many of the evacuees staying in hotels don’t know where they will be living next month.
And for some, their concerns run even deeper than finding shelter.
A half dozen women are sitting around a folding table in a Dracut church. They’re gathered for a potluck meal of arroz con pollo, salad and chocolate chip cookies. They’re here to share a meal and pick up bags full of donations from surrounding communities.
All of these women have relocated from Puerto Rico and are living in area hotels, for now. But, like 42-year-old Dagamar Rivera says, the future beyond June 30 is unclear.
“I don’t know what to tell you. We’re just hoping for a miracle, that some door will open for us,” she says in Spanish. “We’re not really here for pleasure. We’re here because we need to be. Most of us are sick, or have children that are sick. And we’re not asking you to keep us or anything, just give us the opportunity to have a roof over us and to be able to move forward. That’s it.”