Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla to Host Puerto Rican Evacuees Assistance Summit

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, it’s been estimated that as many as 70,000 people may move to Florida, looking for opportunities to better their lives. In 2017, Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla initiated a Puerto Rican Migration Task Force to coordinate with community organizations to identify the needs of these citizens, and help implement solutions. The task force found that the incoming population needs better access to a number of resources like healthcare, housing, food, and employment.

Commissioner Emily Bonilla and her task force will be hosting a Puerto Rican Evacuees Assistance Summit and press conference at the Orlando Magic Recreation Center on Goldenrod Road. This summit will give organizations the opportunity to form partnerships and learn from each other’s experiences in order to understand how they can better help the Puerto Ricans who have been negatively affected by Hurricane Maria.

“I think it’s great that so many organizations are coming together to support such an important cause. This summit will be a place for groups to network and pool their resources together to better help our Puerto Rican neighbors and others,” Commissioner Emily Bonilla said. 

Commissioner Emily Bonilla is a third-generation Puerto Rican-American whose grandparents migrated from Puerto Rico in the 1950s. In the days after the hurricane, Commissioner Emily Bonilla assisted the organization CASA to attain warehouse space to organize donations and shipments to Puerto Rico and created a task force. In addition to organizing her own task force, Commissioner Bonilla most recently attended Congressman Darren Soto’s task force meeting and job fair to support his efforts in Central Florida. She has also held meetings with groups like Vamos4PR to better understand how the District 5 office could play a role in the ongoing outreach efforts. 

Over 20 organizations from various fields will be represented at the summit. Topics of discussion will range from meeting employment needs to improving communications to evacuees. Before the summit, Commissioner Bonilla will hold a press conference to summarize the ideas that will be discussed with the attendees. She will also be available at the recreation center after 1:00pm for interviews with the press. A recap of the summit will be posted on Commissioner Bonilla’s newsletter, to which constituents can subscribe by sending a request to

Press Conference: May 14, 2018 8:30am
Puerto Rican Evacuees Assistance Summit: 
May 14, 2018 9:00am
Press Interviews: 1:00pm
Orlando Magic Recreation Center
4863 N Goldenrod Rd., Winter Park, FL 32792

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