Hurricane Maria Victims Still Without Permanent Home in Conn. - NECN
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Hurricane Maria Victims Still Without Permanent Home in Conn.

Hurricane Maria victims who’ve moved from Puerto Rico have only been made eligible for temporary assistance. That program is set to end on August 31.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Puerto Rican Couple Having Trouble Settling in Connecticut

    A couple who left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year have been bouncing around for the last few months trying to find permanent housing in Connecticut.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018)

    After five moves in 12 months, a US senator is bringing attention to the plight of a Puerto Rican couple trying to resettle in Connecticut, but living a rather unsettled life.

    Bouncing from couch to couch and home to home, Ana Garcia said she, her husband, and children have literally been “floating for the past few months.” During a visit with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the family said they’re tired of living in limbo.

    “This is our last option that we have for now. We don’t have another option after here,” said Garcia.

    Garcia, her husband Kermy Otero, and their teenage son and daughter are thankful for the generosity of the Ibarra family, who they met through church.

    “They’re family already to us,” said Garcia.

    Newlyweds Brian and Jennifer Ibarra opened up their tiny two-bedroom home to the Garcia family five months ago.

    “We were able to bless another family. So, that’s the way I see it,” Jennifer said.

    Tripling the number of people under one roof meant creating a makeshift bedroom for the teens in the basement and six people sharing one bathroom.

    “It’s a little tight however we made it work,” added Brian.

    However, Blumenthal said they shouldn’t have to.

    “American should be angry that their fellow Americans are treated as second class citizens,” Blumenthal said.

    He said families like Garcias aren’t being offered the same level of help as stateside disaster victims. Blumenthal pointed to a FEMA program created after Hurricane Katrina that provides funds for housing assistance, including security deposits and a month of utilities to help disaster victims get back on their feet.

    “We don’t have that money,” said Garcia.

    Hurricane Maria victims who’ve moved from Puerto Rico have only been made eligible for temporary assistance. That program is set to end on August 31.

    “We are United States citizens,” Garcia pointed out.

    She added that their move to Connecticut was for their children.

    “Finding that stability for their education and for them to strive here,” she said.

    She said her family now deserves the most is a permanent place to call home. The Ibarras agree.

    “I know what it is to call your own place home and I know that’s what they’re looking for and waiting for as well,” said Jennifer.