2 years after Hurricane Maria, refugees from Puerto Rico fight for affordable housing

Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) -Friday marked two years since Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, sending hundreds of thousands of people to Florida.

Puerto Rican groups in Central Florida gathered Friday night to remember the victims of the devastating storm, and to pray for struggling survivors.

Puerto Rican people in Central Florida said they are continuing to fight for housing they can afford.

Protesters marched outside the Invitation Homes office in Altamonte Springs on Friday.

A group, made up of several activist organizations, is demanding affordable rent prices during what many are calling a housing crisis in Central Florida.

Luz Gonzalez is a Hurricane Maria refugee who says she lost her home in the storm and moved to Florida.

“We didn’t have a house. We get here, and we’re running through hotels and hotels for six months with the uncertainty of if they’re going to kick us out,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said she is one of many Puerto Rican refugees struggling to make ends meet and put a roof over her head, as well as her mother’s, in Orlando.

The protesters gave a letter to the local manager; Invitation Homes is a very large home leasing company.

“I’m paying a thousand and three hundred, and I’m about to not be able to pay it because, and it’s not me, it’s my mother, and she’s on a fixed income. Who can afford that?” Gonzalez said.

Friday marked exactly two years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, devastating the island.

Friday night, another community gathered in a more somber tone as Puerto Rican groups held a vigil at Lake Eola for Hurricane Maria victims.

The organizers said they want safeguards so the federal money that is going to Puerto Rico ends up being used in the right way.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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