Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló urged Philadelphia faith and civic leaders on Friday to put their political power behind relief efforts for the hurricane-ravaged island and to discuss help for evacuees who have come to Pennsylvania.

It has been more than five months since Category 4 Hurricane Maria devastated the island, and thousands of families have sought shelter on the U.S. mainland. Some officials estimate that as many as 27,000 Puerto Ricans could move to Pennsylvania in the year after Maria, second only to Florida.

"U.S. citizens that live in Puerto Rico unfortunately are treated as second-class citizens," Rosselló said at a community breakfast at Esperanza College of Eastern University in Feltonville.

Although they are U.S. citizens, residents of the island have little power in Washington. He urged those in attendance to use their voting power to advocate for Puerto Rico.

"We don't have voting members in Congress, and that certainly limits our capability to be effective," he said.

When pressed by State Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D., Phila.) about his plans to petition for "host state" status for Pennsylvania — which would release federal funds to reimburse the cost of evacuating and sheltering evacuees who have come to the state — Rosselló said he submitted a petition to FEMA more than a month ago and "we still haven't gotten a response."

A FEMA spokeswoman said the agency had not received such a petition from Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia officials have said their hands are tied by limited funding from the federal government, but local leaders and organizations offering services to evacuees in the city say they are frustrated by a lack of attention. They are asking Rosselló to help release federal resources for hurricane victims struggling to find homes, employment, and aid to feed their families.

"I have a number of refugees coming to my office for help, and I don't know where to turn," Tartaglione said.

Rosselló promised to follow up on the petition and to contact Gov. Wolf and Mayor Kenney within 24 hours. "My commitment is to make sure that the parties that make that decision — which is FEMA, the state government, and the local city government — are all aligned so that we can get that through," he said.

Rosselló later tweeted a photo noting that he met with Kenney, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and State Rep. Angel Cruz on Friday "to talk about the needs of the Puerto Ricans who sought shelter in Philadelphia due to Hurricane Maria."

Kenney spokesman Mike Dunn said in a statement that Rosselló and Kenney "had a cordial conversation that touched on the question of relief for families displaced by Hurricane Maria."

"The mayor said the discussion was productive, and he's hopeful that going forward, all stakeholders will be able to work out arrangements that are best for the families involved, and for the city," Dunn said. He declined to comment further, saying it was a private conversation.

Quiñones-Sánchez said Rosselló told the group that he was open to having a host state-relationship with Pennsylvania as long as Wolf agrees to it. Wolf said through a spokesman that he had not received a request either from Rosselló or FEMA to be a host state.

"We have reached out to FEMA for clarity but still have not been made aware of any request for this status for Pennsylvania. We look forward to hearing from the governor of Puerto Rico directly on this issue. We stand ready to help our fellow U.S. residents," said Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott.

Quiñones-Sánchez added that Rosselló told Kenney at Friday's meeting that if Puerto Rican evacuees are eligible for housing in Philadelphia, he hoped Kenney would grant that. Quiñones-Sánchez, who is advocating for the city to allow Puerto Rican evacuees to jump to the top of the public housing list, said she plans to send a memo to the mayor in response to the meeting.

At a news conference that followed the community event Friday morning, Rosselló incorrectly stated that at least four states had obtained host status and promised to assure that Pennsylvania would have access to federal aid.

Rosselló expressed a commitment to extend the current Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program allowing evacuees temporary lodging in hotels in Pennsylvania until mid-March. He also said he made a request to activate access to housing through the Direct Leasing program. "We have made the petition formally, but it is an agreement between FEMA and the states," Rosselló said.

This week in New Jersey, temporary home to about 30,000 people who have fled Puerto Rico since the September storm, Gov. Murphy signed an executive order establishing a commission aimed at speeding up relief efforts for Puerto Ricans in the state and on the island. Murphy toured the island and met with Rosselló in December.