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Central Florida lawmakers are frustrated over the lack of housing as Puerto Rican evacuees arrive in Orlando daily

More than 100 days after Hurricane Maria's apocalyptic winds tore through Puerto Rico leaving floods, collapsed houses and bodies in its wake, the island remains shrouded in darkness.

Half of the 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the American territory are living without power, three months after Maria made landfall on Sept. 20 and destroyed the island's electrical grid – and many will likely remain that way until May, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In the most dire cases, no electricity means no access to clean drinking water, no schools, no jobs, no medicine – no hope that things will return to normal anytime soon. As Puerto Rico's situation continues to deteriorate, hundreds of thousands of people have escaped to Florida for a respite from the despair.

Instead, they've fled headfirst into our state's dreadful affordable housing crisis.

The Orlando metro area ranks third in the nation for its lack of affordable rentals, with 18 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income families, according to a National Low Income Housing Coalition study. Local officials and nonprofits have been scrambling to accommodate evacuees who haven't been able to stay with family members, getting them into hotels and temporary lodgings as they wait for relief. As of last Thursday, 283,000 people had arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico through airports in Orlando, Tampa and Miami, according to the state division of emergency management.  Read More

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