A center to help Puerto Ricans arriving in Bridgeport from the island opens with a ribbon-cutting. Photo: Connecticut Post

Bridgeport's Puerto Rico Relief Center was christened Wednesday on the ground floor of 2 Lafayette Square, where it shares office space with the American Job Center.

Designed to be a one-stop resource for families transitioning from Puerto Rico to Bridgeport, the center will offer job assistance as well as referrals for housing, health care, transportation, food and clothing.

The Center is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To reach the office, call 203-953-3272.

Scott Wilderman, chief executive officer of Career Resources, told the Connecticut Post his agency and others felt compelled to do something from the time Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.

Dozens of Bridgeport-area nonprofit agencies, community leaders, officials and educators have banded together to help welcome the hurricane refugees, whether their stay is short-term or permanent.

As of Tuesday, about 70 percent of the island of 3.4 million people was still reported to be without power.

“We will work with families, many with real problems,” said Rosa Correa, coordinator of the relief center, promising it to be a long-term commitment.

Bridgeport has one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the state. And the center has started working with 30 families who because of the hurricane have come to live with local relatives.

Recent fundraisers in the city and surrounding area have raised more than $70,000, said Correa. There also have been collections of supplies. At noon on Wednesday, a truck filled with donations collected at Housatonic Community College was to arrive at the center.

Scott Appleby, director of emergency management for the city, said the state has put in a request for a Federal Emergency Management Agency specialist to work on behalf of Bridgeport and Hartford to provide disaster relief that arriving victims need.

“We want to make sure no one falls through cracks,” Appleby said.

Read about the Center and the people it serves in the Connecticut Post.