The “City of Brotherly Love” is welcoming hundreds of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island residents displaced by Hurricane Maria. HUD staff are working shoulder-to-shoulder with Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management at its Disaster Assistance Services Center where more than 1,000 evacuees have visited since its opening in mid-October.
“It all came together rather quickly after touring the center and seeing the need,” said Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Joe DeFelice. “While my office is providing on-site support, program directors are meeting with me weekly to brainstorm ways to assist the city.”
The center is a multi-agency effort, staffed with personnel from a variety of state and local agencies. One of the primary goals is to register those who were not able to apply for FEMA’s disaster assistance programs before arriving in Philly.
“I volunteered to represent HUD at the center,” said Elvis Solivan, DeFelice’s senior advisor. “I’m making a difference by being in the right place at the right time to fulfill the critical need for subject matter experts fluent in Spanish.”
Nika Edwards is a Public Affairs Officer in HUD’s Philadelphia Regional Office.