New Puerto Rico Disaster Center opens in Orlando

By Paula Machado, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 02, 2018, 6:17 PM EST

Hundreds of Puerto Rican families are still arriving in Central Florida after being displaced by Hurricane Maria.

  • New Puerto Rico Disaster Center opens in Orlando
  • Provides services to families displaced by Hurricane Maria
  • Hundreds of Puerto Rican families are arriving in Central Florida
  • RELATED: Hurricane Maria impact

"Who wants to leave the place where you've been born, you've been raised and everything?” asked Adrian Vega, who arrived with his family on Dec. 15.

A new Puerto Rico Disaster Center opened its doors Tuesday in Orlando for families like Vega’s seeking help.

This comes after the original center at the Orlando International Airport closed last week.

"There's a lot of people desperate because they want to receive the benefits as soon as possible," Vega said.

Vega and his family had been to the center at the airport when they first came to Orlando. They visited the new location in search of more answers.

The new center is located at 6490 Hazeltine National Drive, Suite 170. It will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

State officials said almost all the organizations that were at the original center at the airport brought their services to the new center, including FEMA, United Way and other nonprofits.

"We give families from Puerto Rico the information they need when they come to Orlando," said Janice Alvarado, a volunteer at Latino Leadership.

The state is leasing the space where the center is located until March 21. At that point they will decide whether to close the center or keep it open, depending on how many families they'll serve at that time.       

"We need this. We need the help from them and not only the help, orientation, 'cause there's a lot of things we have doubts, so we can come here and they can help us with it," Vega said.