Puerto Rican evacuees get FEMA extension

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Hurricane Maria victims still living in hotels paid for by the government will have to pay for their own housing as of July 4th.

FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program was set to expire Sunday, but was extended through Wednesday after a U.S. district judge ordered an extension.

Many Puerto Rican evacuees living in area hotels are looking for new places to live.

The Clarion Inn in Brandon is helping some of its evacuees by offering them jobs.

Manuel Ramos evacuated Puerto Rico with his wife and two children after their home was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

"I'm looking back and I say I don't know how I did it," said Ramos.

He cleans, drives the airport shuttle, and does all kinds of maintenance work. 

"They gave me the opportunity to work," said Ramos.

Hotel managers said they developed close relationships with the hundreds of Puerto Rican evacuees that have stayed there over the past year, and wanted to continue to help them even after FEMA's assistance program ended.

"They need to feel some normalcy," said Noelle Mandish, Clarion Inn's general manager. "They need to get back on their feet, and be able to provide for their families."

With his new job, Ramos and his family moved out and are renting an apartment.

He said his faith in God, and hard working attitude, have given him strength to move forward.