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Blumenthal Statement on Sudden FEMA Reversal on Transitional Shelter Assistance

State, Local Advocates Scrambling to Help 45 Puerto Rican Families in Connecticut

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement today regarding news that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has suddenly reversed course on its decision to extend Transitional Shelter Assistance aid for 45 displaced Puerto Rican families in Connecticut. With not even a day’s notice, FEMA has ended all aid to these families, essentially evicting them from their hotel rooms during the dead of winter. Earlier this week, FEMA announced it would extend aid for these families through February 14. Many of these families continue to report that their homes in Puerto Rico lack access to sanitary water, functional utilities and sound roofs.

This sudden reversal is a shocking betrayal of public trust—rescinding critical housing aid to families in need in the dead of winter without even a full day’s notice. I commend the state and local agencies and advocates who are now scrambling to do the job that the federal government has recklessly abandoned. Homes without sanitary water, functional utilities and sound roofs are not habitable, and FEMA’s policies must be immediately updated to reflect that plain and simple truth. I saw firsthand during my visit this month the ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. This shameful decision is further evidence of the federal government’s disgraceful response. I demand that FEMA do the right thing and reverse course on this dangerous decision to pull the rug out from under displaced families,” Blumenthal said.