A federal judge issued an order on Wednesday that will prevent hundreds of Puerto Rican families who fled from Hurricane Maria from being evicted from hotels and motels across the United States—at least until August 31st, Reuters reports.
The order will extend a Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance program that currently aids 1,041 Puerto Rican families by providing them vouchers for hotel lodging. Many of the families in the program do not have homes to return to: Puerto Rico is still recovering from the devastation of the hurricane that hit last September, causing $90 billion in damage in the worst natural disaster to strike the island in century.
While the Puerto Ricans in refuge may now have their anxieties alleviated until the end of the month, the order comes after a month of intense housing insecurity for the displaced families. FEMA originally attempted to end the housing assistance program at the beginning of last month. As Pacific Standard reported, a civil rights lawsuit brought by a Latinx advocacy group won a 20-day extension of the program at that time.
This time, the judge's order halts FEMA's plan to end the program on July 31st. It's unclear if the program will get extended again, or finally terminate on August 31st.