Helping Hurricane Maria Survivors in Puerto Rico
Month and a half after the hurricane, Mr. Medina decided it was time to leave the moldy house and seek help to find a new, mold-free home with a secure roof.
Month and a half after the hurricane, Mr. Medina decided it was time to leave the moldy house and seek help to find a new, mold-free home with a secure roof.

For the HUD Team at Disaster Recovery Centers Progress Comes One Person at a Time

At 93, José Medina lived on his own, renting the wooden second floor of a house in Aguadilla, PR. The owners used to live in the first floor, built in cement, but had left several months ago. In the mornings he regularly received breakfast from a municipal service agency called Hope. Neighbors brought him meals in the evenings.

Hurricane María took his roof, windows and a few walls. There was no power, or water. He continued living there, exposed to the elements, despite being rained on several times during the night, until black mold spread on the furniture and walls. He then moved into the abandoned first-floor level, but the roof was collapsing, and black mold continued spreading. On Thursday November 30th he had enough and went to the Disaster Recovery Center in Aguadilla; the FEMA team referred him to HUD for help.

The HUD team contacted several multifamily properties until Jardines del Atlántico was identified and coordination began with the project administrator to transition Mr. Medina into his new home. The team also got him a hot meal and found transportation to go back to his home to gather his salvageable belongings. Transfer of utilities from the damaged home to the new one was initiated, and the property administrator of Jardines del Atlántico committed to expedite his moving in. Utilities transfer took a bit longer than expected so the team looked for family members and convinced him to stay with a son for a few days, until all was clear for him to move safely. On Monday December 4th Mr. Medina and his son visited the Recovery Center to share with a smile that he would be moving that morning into his new home.