From the Mayor’s Office:
City of Worcester and Community Partners Unveil Plan for Incoming Evacuees of Hurricane Irma and Maria
The City of Worcester announced yesterday its collaborative plan for the resettlement of incoming evacuees of Hurricane Irma and Maria, alongside partners from the non-profit community Amor Para Puerto Rico and Centro, Inc.
“Cities step up. This is what we do,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “Evacuees are not just coming to Worcester but to cities like Boston and Holyoke and New Bedford. We are committed to working with our community and state partners to make sure that the people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Island are cared for and are receiving the services they deserve. We will not back down from our commitment to our fellow Americans.”
Speakers urged the public to call 2-1-1 if they or someone they know is an evacuee from the devastation brought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The City of Worcester and Worcester Public Schools have worked to distribute fliers with this information across the city.
“The City of Worcester has been working with our non-profit service providers for the past several weeks to convene working groups to address all of the major issues incoming evacuees face: case-management, housing, employment, education, healthcare, and community support. If you’re planning on bringing family here, call 2-1-1 and let Centro know who is coming and when they can be expected,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus.
One of the community support groups is Amor Para Puerto Rico, a non-profit formed to respond to the needs of incoming evacuees from Puerto Rico as well as raising money for relief efforts on the island.
“Amor para Puerto Rico stands in solidarity with all Puerto Rican Americans,” said City Councilor Sarai Rivera speaking on behalf of the organization. “To those on the Island we will continue our relief efforts and our commitment to help rebuild Puerto Rico. To those on the mainland that have resettled or those thinking of resettlement here in Worcester whether long term or short term we embrace and welcome you to our neighborhoods, our schools, our community based organizations, our churches, our businesses, our City Hall, our hospitals and clinics. Our city is now your city and we are here to help in your transition.”
At the time of the event over 100 students new students have enrolled in the Worcester Public Schools from areas affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria.
“While this situation remains fluid, I am confident we will be able to provide all of the services needed for our children,” said Superintendent Maureen Binienda. “I believe this firmly from our long history of welcoming students from all parts of the United States and the world.”
Centro, Inc located on Sycamore Street in Worcester is the lead agency handling intake of incoming evacuees and case management services for Worcester and all of Worcester County.
“We are blessed to live in a city where elected officials, community leaders and citizens have come together to identify the most effective way to assist the self-evacuees from Puerto Rico as a result of this season’s hurricanes,” said Juan Gomez, Executive Director of the service agency Centro, Inc. “Centro is proud to be a partner in this important initiative, by receiving the referrals, conducting assessments and providing case management, so to ensure none of the families fall through the cracks.”
Since Hurricane Maria, the City of Worcester has received 113 new students in the Worcester Public Schools from the affected areas and Centro, Inc. is working with 203 evacuees in total.