Judge: Gov't Can End Housing Aid for Maria Evacuees

A federal judge Thursday denied a request to extend temporary housing assistance for evacuees from Puerto Rico, left virtually homeless after Hurricane Maria.

The people impacted by the decision are those who were living in hotels and motels while looking for a more permanent residence either in the U.S. or back in Puerto Rico.

The program was supposed to have reached a cut-off at the end of June, but had been extended.

Judge Timothy Hillman denied a request to extend the assistance further. 

The decision, according to a statement from Hillman, was made regretfully.

The judge had said in the statement that his hands were tied by law. 

He noted that the court could only order the defendants to do what the law requires, and could not order them to do "that which in a humanitarian and caring world should be done."

Judge Hillman did order FEMA to ensure that people still staying in the voucher-funded hotels would be allowed to stay until September 14.

The reason for that, according to the court, was to provide people one last bit of time to find housing.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20 of last year.

According to the National Hurricane Center, it struck as a Category 4 hurricane.

Officials on the island confirmed that more than 29-hundred people were dead because of the storm or its aftermath.


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