Displaced Puerto Ricans continue to be helped in Rochester

ROCHESTER — A welcome center to provide information and resources to families who have left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria will remain open until at least the end of December.

During a Nov. 27 press conference, Hilda Rosario Escher, executive director and CEO of Ibero-American Action League, said community officials will re-evaluate the need to keep the center open in the new year. It is located at 938 Clifford Ave.

About 1,000 people — including community members as well as displaced families and their relatives — came out to a welcome reception at the center on Nov. 9, she said. More than 130,000 Puerto Ricans have left the island since the hurricane, noted Rosario Escher.

Since opening on Nov. 9, the center has offered services once a week with assistance from more than 30 community partner agencies, she said.

More than 330 families have received assistance from Monroe County, she said. The biggest needs remain housing, employment and health insurance.

“All of them come with nothing,” added Rosario Escher. “The families have many needs. It’s great to see so many agencies collaborating with us.”

Ibero has been collecting donations of clothing and furniture as well as monetary donations to help pay for security deposits and rent for apartments, she explained.

A Christmas celebration is being planned at the welcome center this month. Ibero is accepting donations for families or for the holiday event at its 214 Clifford Ave. location. For more information, call 585-256-8900.

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