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Gov. Murphy signed an executive order creating a commission to speed up relief efforts of displaced Puerto Ricans in New Jersey
The 18-member joint commission will help about 30,000 Puerto Ricans who have taken refuge in New Jersey
New Jersey is home to about 600,000 Puerto Ricans — the third largest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the United States
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Monday creating a commission that will collaborate with state and federal agencies to speed up the relief efforts for displaced Puerto Ricans who relocated to the state following Hurricane Maria.
The 18-member joint commission will help about 30,000 Puerto Ricans who have taken refuge in New Jersey by directing state agencies to quickly help those who were displaced after Hurricane Maria hit the island last year, Murphy said in a statement.
“It is unacceptable that five months after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, so many of our fellow Americans are still feeling the impacts of the storm,” Murphy said, adding that federal response to the September hurricane has been “insufficient.”
The newly-formed commission will also look into how New Jersey can help Puerto Rico recover from the estimated $100 billion in damage it sustained.
In December, Murphy, who was at that time the governor-elect, traveled to Puerto Rico with state officials, business communities and religious groups to assess the damage left behind by Hurricane Maria and promised the governor of Puerto Rico he would continue relief efforts.
Murphy’s mandate will task the commission with examining New Jersey-based resources available to students and professors who evacuated the island or remain unable to complete their coursework in Puerto Rico. The group will also review the moratorium on mortgage and reverse mortgage foreclosures in Puerto Rico that is set to expire on March 19.
The commission will also look into power generation on the island and the recruitment of volunteer lawyers to look into denial appeals of FEMA benefits.
Murphy is also ordering the commission to identify opportunities for New Jerseyans to visit Puerto Rico in an effort to increase tourism to the island.
New Jersey is home to about 600,000 Puerto Ricans — the third largest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the United States.