Puerto Rico will never be the same. Although it will always be “La Isla del Encanto,” its beaches and people will be dramatically affected for many years. What the Island has experienced is far worse than social media and press conferences can convey – it is human tragedy. The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (FSHCC) has partnered with Latino Leadership (LL) to create the Puerto Rico Family Response Center to help families reunify in Florida and restart their lives through the most seamless transition possible.
The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Latino Leadership are coming together for the people of Puerto Rico. Both organizations have deep roots serving the Hispanic community in Florida and provide the ideal synergy for families relocating to the State. Already possessing an established network of resources, the Partnership’s goal is to ensure that families are connected to vital resources to facilitate integration into Florida’s communities and economy.
Some estimates put the exodus of Puerto Ricans close to 100,000. These people and families will require assistance regaining normal, functional life routines. FSHCC and LL anticipate the major functions of the Puerto Rico Family Response Center to be:
- Emergency Relief Items
- Employment Services
- Education Placement
- Health Referrals
- Disaster Relief Paperwork
- Housing Assistance and Rental Information
The Puerto Rico Family Response Center will establish an initial location at Latino Leadership’s headquarters in Central Florida. The office address is 8617 E. Colonial Drive, Suite 1200, Orlando, FL 32817. Current organizational offering at Latino Leadership include housing counseling, a 10-person computer lab, and special needs services, in addition to a robust referral services network. This Response Center will amplify the organization’s current commitment to enrichment services.
A team of qualified individuals will serve as the liaison between displaced families and community resources. FSHCC’s network of business members will serve as a vital resource for connecting evacuees with employment opportunities throughout the State. As US citizens, Puerto Ricans will be able to join Florida’s workforce upon arrival.
Aware of the immediacy of the need, Latino Leadership, working with the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is confident it can begin facilitating transitions quickly – with the proper support and resources. And the need is now: because of Latino Leadership’s track record of service, two Puerto Rican news outlets have shared the organization’s contact information.