Philly opens center to help Puerto Ricans displaced by hurricane

Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management  Director Dan Bradley says city officials are expecting  many  to come to the center given how many people with ties to Puerto Rico live in the Philadelphia region. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management Director Dan Bradley says city officials are expecting many to come to the center given how many people with ties to Puerto Rico live in the Philadelphia region. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

The city of Philadelphia has set up a central intake center for those who have fled hurricane damage in Puerto Rico.

The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management has opened a facility in the offices of the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises headquarters on Allegheny Avenue. OEM Director Dan Bradley said city officials are not sure how many of those displaced will come to Philadelphia, but they expect many — given how many people with ties to the island live in the Philadelphia region.

“That’s really one of the reasons we are establishing this center, we need a central location to send these individuals to … it’s an issue of self-identification,” he said. “We need folks to say, I’m here, I’m displaced and I’m in need.”

Bradley said it function as a social services-referral hub. “Primarily, our focus for this center is to get folks enrolled for FEMA individual assistance, so we have computers there, and we have folks from FEMA that are going to help us make that process,” he said.

The goal, Bradley said, is to offer services that displaced people urgently need.

“The recovery to this is really going to start with FEMA individual assistance funds being made available. Other things, we are offering are counseling services — everything from medication retrieval and replacement to school enrollment if they are going to be here for a while.”

The facility will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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