HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — Six months after Hurricane Maria, a Bay area nonprofit is stepping in to help migrants in Hillsborough County still having a tough time getting settled.

  • Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay focusing on need in schools
  • Coalition holding community fairs to help families
  • For more information, contact the Coalition at 813-274-7982

Ana Cirilo is just one of the thousands who came to the mainland after Maria devastated her island home. She has been looking for a place to live in the Bay area since, but she's running out of time.

“I have until April 20th to leave the hotel," Cirilo said. "I don’t have any place to go."

We met Cirilo today while visiting Mujeres Restauradas Por Dios, one of many local organizations working with the Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay.

“We noticed right away that there were families asking for resources, so what the Latino Coalition started doing was compiling a resource guide to help those families with the resources that they needed,” said coalition chair Monica Rodriguez.

The Coalition has been providing these resources to Puerto Rican migrants since October, but is now focusing on a specific need within Hillsborough County -- its schools.

Hillsborough County Public Schools says it has had 1,000 additional new students enrolled since October. District leadership says those students all came from Puerto Rico.

The district is thus partnering with the Coalition to host a series of community fairs to help those students' families. The fairs provide everything from free health screenings to employment opportunities.

“We have done two other events and [they were] very well attended,” Rodriguez said.

The Coalition says they've since managed to help 350 families.

“If we see the need, I’m sure we’ll plan another [fair],” she said.

For more information, you can contact the Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay at 813-274-7982.