When Hurricane Maria struck, she left a wave of destruction and chaos in her wake. Jose and his family lost a lot to the storm, but one thing they never lost was their hope. With a wife in her third trimester of pregnancy and a 5 year-old-son, Jose was determined to provide a bright future for his children despite losing their home. They determined that evacuating stateside was the best option.
Unfortunately, his wife was not permitted to travel due to her pregnancy and remained on the island with their son while staying with relatives. So Jose left on his own. When he arrived at the Orlando International Airport, he was connected to United Way for temporary hotel housing while he waited for his FEMA TSA application to process.
In the meantime he secured 2 part-time jobs. His schedule was erratic and he nearly missed the birth of his daughter back on the island because of it. But Jose persisted, desperate to secure a home so his family could join him in Central Florida. When he was approved for low-income housing, they asked for a security deposit for the apartment and utilities. With most of his income going to support his family in Puerto Rico, Jose knew it would take many months before he could hope to save up that amount. It was the first time since the storm that Jose felt helpless and hopeless.
That’s where United Way comes in. The Hurricane Maria Evacuee Housing Assistance program was designed to help families like Jose who are fighting to make a new life in our community. They have jobs. They’ve found housing. They just need a little help getting started .
Now that Jose has secured housing with a little help from United Way, he is eagerly anticipating the arrival of his wife, son and daughter into their new home in just a few weeks!