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FEMA extends housing program for Puerto Ricans displaced by Maria

Christmas in Puerto Rico

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is extending it's Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program Puerto Ricans who are still unable to return to their homes three months after Hurricane Maria.

The program provides short-term shelter for people displaced from declared disaster areas, and provides help to people unable to return to their homes after an evacuation. The 66-day extension means the program will continue to provide assistance to residents from Jan. 14 to March 20, according to a memo from FEMA dated Dec. 29. The Puerto Rican government requested the extension because many residents who are unable to return to damaged homes.

More than 10,000 Puerto Ricans are receiving assistance under the program, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports.  

After the category 4 storm hit in October, dozens of people were killed and thousands of people were forced from their homes. In response, FEMA offered to airlift victims to the U.S. mainland under the TSA program, the first time the agency has deployed the program to evacuate residents by air. FEMA promised to work with governors in both states to work through the logistics, but the offer was taken up by relatively few residents. Thousands of Puerto Ricans have relocated to the U.S. mainland on their own, however.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico still struggles with basic needs. More than 30 percent of customers still lack electricity three months after the storm. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said that power won't be restored for the entire island until May.