Meeting to plan for migration from storm-ravaged Puerto Rico

Reading mayor says hundreds may come to city

READING, Pa. - In light of the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Reading officials and nonprofit organizations said they expect some in Puerto Rico with ties to the city will move to the area.

City officials began discussing how to best accommodate the new residents at Monday's meeting of Reading City Council.

The Hispanic Center in Reading will host a community meeting on Friday from 2 until 4 p.m. at the center at 501 Washington Street.

Mike Toledo, the center's executive director, said he is working with other organizations in Berks County, including the United Way. He added that coming together will help to assess how residents can help those in Puerto Rico, especially since there is little to no communication from the island.

"We can go through the information that we know and that we have so that everyone is on the same page in terms of what's needed on the island, what can we do to prepare here at home and to put supports together so that everyone, in essence, is growing in the same direction," Toledo told 69 News.

He said the meeting may also help estimate how many local families hope to help their loved ones in Puerto Rico move to the Reading area.

Toledo said he expects some of the major needs of the new residents will be medical care, job training, and housing.

"What we're doing is what we can to gather the troops, reaching out to our community partners and just making sure we're ready as ready as we can be," said Toledo, "because if and when that migration of those Puerto Ricans does come, that we're ready to support their needs with grace, love and support, which is what they need right now." 

The meeting will also serve as an opportunity for residents to discuss how to help victims of last week's earthquake in Mexico.

Toledo said the Hispanic Center will validate parking in the Abraham Lincoln Garage.

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