Puerto Rican families staying in U.S. abruptly lose FEMA funding for housing

Without any notice, families who lost their homes to Hurricane Maria are again faced with the prospect of having nowhere to go.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had promised to provide living arrangements until Feb. 14, only to reverse course last week and signal that the 36 families will no longer receive Transitional Sheltering Assistance.

The hurricane victims have been living in hotels in Connecticut, but on Thursday, FEMA cut off payments for their hotel rooms, notifying neither the state nor the families themselves.

Instead, the displaced U.S. citizens reportedly discovered they would have to check out by 2 p.m.

RELATED: Hurricane Maria destroyed village's only bridge to the outside world

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Hurricane Maria destroyed village's only bridge to the outside world
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Hurricane Maria destroyed village's only bridge to the outside world
Ana Maria Jimenez, 89, lays on a bed after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge and the surrounding areas, in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Dariana Baez, holds her one-month-old niece Amalia Garcia at her house after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge and the surrounding areas, in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017 REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A local resident carries a gasoline can as he crosses a river using a cable after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Local residents try to fix a truck after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge and the surrounding areas, in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An America flag is seen after Hurricane Maria hit San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A boy looks at his neighbourhood after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge and the surrounding areas, in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A damaged house is seen after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge and the surrounding areas, in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ismael Rivera stands at his damaged house after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A local resident carries a box of food as he walks along the side of a river after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Carmen Rodrigues stands by her bedridden mother, Rosa Maria Torres, 95, after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. The family are trying to get Torres airlifted out of the town. "If they don't move her out of here, she's going to die," said Carmen Santos, Torres' granddaughter. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ismael Rivera stands at his damaged house after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ramon Sostre, stands in front of his damaged house after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Haydee Mestre looks inside her refrigerator after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge and the surrounding areas, in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Local residents cross a river using a cable after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A general view of San Lorenzo after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A local resident takes a bath in a river after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A local resident washes her hair at a pond after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Local residents stand by a bridge which was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Local residents walk along a road after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge and the surrounding areas, in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ruth Santiago refreshes herself with water from a pipe after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Local residents walk in a river after Hurricane Maria destroyed the town's bridge in San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "BAEZ LORENZO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
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"I cried. I didn't want to be there. I wanted to leave," resident Yahaira Falson told WTIC.

"For FEMA to sit there and say one thing on the phone and then turn around and just stab us in the back like that is very hurtful because they're here to help us. They can't just sit here, bring us here and forget about us."

The Connecticut state government came in to replace the sudden loss of funds, but it was already too late for some.

"A number of families had already been removed from hotels," Gov. Dannel Malloy's Deputy Communications Director Jason Novak told BuzzFeed.

 

"We got the call hours later and had to then notify these families about what was happening and tell hotel owners not to kick them out."

Malloy has been unguarded in his assessment of how his state's temporary guests have been getting treated by their federal government.

RELATED: When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico

24 PHOTOS
Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico
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Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico
A man looks for valuables in the damaged house of a relative after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A damaged house is seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria en Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A damaged supermarket is seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Damaged electrical installations are seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria en Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man rides a bicycle next to a flooded road after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Debris and damaged electrical installations are seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria en Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A woman cuts a fallen tree into pieces after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Toys are seen in a damaged house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A damaged pier is seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Puerto de Jobos, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Damages are seen in a supermarket after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man runs on the street next to debris and damaged cars after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Damages are seen in a supermarket after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Constructions debris are carried by the wind after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Agapito Lopez looks at the damage in his house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Branches lie on the ground as trees blow in the wind from the passage of the Hurricane Maria, seen outside Roberto Clemente Coliseum where residents have sought shelter in San Juan, Puerto Rico, early on September 20, 2017. Hurricane Maria closed in on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on September 20 as forecasters warned of a 'potentially catastrophic' storm that has already killed at least two people in the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
This view shows the rain from the passage of the Hurricane Maria from Roberto Clemente Coliseum where residents have sought shelter in San Juan, Puerto Rico, early on September 20, 2017. Hurricane Maria closed in on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on September 20 as forecasters warned of a 'potentially catastrophic' storm that has already killed at least two people in the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents seek shelter inside Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, early on September 20, 2017, as Hurricane Maria passes the island. Hurricane Maria closed in on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on September 20 as forecasters warned of a 'potentially catastrophic' storm that has already killed at least two people in the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view of Aguirre thermoelectric plant during the rain before the arrival of the Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Residents seek shelter inside Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, early on September 20, 2017, as Hurricane Maria passes the island. Hurricane Maria closed in on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on September 20 as forecasters warned of a 'potentially catastrophic' storm that has already killed at least two people in the Caribbean. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
The top of a church is seen through branches as Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico in Fajardo, on September 20, 2017. Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, pummeling the US territory after already killing at least two people on its passage through the Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center warned of 'large and destructive waves' as Maria came ashore near Yabucoa on the southeast coast. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 20, 2017. Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, pummeling the US territory after already killing at least two people on its passage through the Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center warned of 'large and destructive waves' as Maria came ashore near Yabucoa on the southeast coast. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks as trees are toppled in a parking lot at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 20, 2017, during the passage of the Hurricane Maria. Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, pummeling the US territory after already killing at least two people on its passage through the Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center warned of 'large and destructive waves' as Maria came ashore near Yabucoa on the southeast coast. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Trees are toppled in a parking lot at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 20, 2017, during the passage of the Hurricane Maria. Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, pummeling the US territory after already killing at least two people on its passage through the Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center warned of 'large and destructive waves' as Maria came ashore near Yabucoa on the southeast coast. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico in Fajardo. on September 20, 2017. Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, pummeling the US territory after already killing at least two people on its passage through the Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center warned of 'large and destructive waves' as Maria came ashore near Yabucoa on the southeast coast. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
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"All things considered, it is hard to come to any conclusion other than that the federal government sees the United States citizens who inhabit Puerto Rico as second class," Malloy said in a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long in which he called on him to fix the "egregious error."

For its part, the agency claims that the majority of the families have homes that have now been deemed "livable," but no explanation was offered as to why their situations weren't considered before their assistance was extended in the first place.

 

"Upon review of their case files, we found that 24 were ineligible for the (Transitional Shelter Assistance) because after inspection of their dwellings, it was determined they had little or no damage and their utilities were on," FEMA Public Affairs Director William Booher told BuzzFeed.

Regardless, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin joined Malloy in his criticism of the way the agency went back on its word, saying it "reversed that decision in the most coldhearted and calloused way."

Whether FEMA decides to once again change its mind, Bronin said that families will at least continue to receive assistance from the Constitution State until Feb. 1.

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