Hurricane relief center opens for Puerto Rican evacuees in Humboldt Park

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands of residents are desperate to get off the island of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Many have already left and are landing in American cities, including Chicago.

Those who have left can now find a helping hand at the hurricane resource center that just opened in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Nearly six weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, many are still without electricity and water, including 88-year-old Anna Rodriguez. She left and is now staying with relatives in Chicago.

"We had to bring her back. We know she's ok now, out there it would be rough," relative Louie Medina said.

She is one of hundreds of evacuees from Puerto Rico who have made their way to Chicago to be with relatives. The city is trying to make sure they get what they need by setting up the resource center in Humboldt Park with supplies and assistance with medical and other needs.

"Everybody that walks through those doors needs everything - from housing, from food stamps, from a Medicaid card," said Ald. Roberto Maldonado, 26th Ward.

"We're trying to bring together the resources we think they need, but what we're also doing today is learning what might be needed," said Lisa Morrison Butler, Dept. of Family and Support Services.

Children draw pictures while they wait. Around 40 families came here for help on the first day the center has been open. Many will be in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

There's no water, no lights, so, maybe until things get better out there," said Margarita Acevedo.

In addition to what the city is doing here, Governor Bruce Rauner has applied to make Illinois a host for evacuees, which would make the state eligible for federal reimbursement.
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