Wednesday, January 26, 2011

“The Red Cross was very humane.”

Jesus Figueroa
Jesus Figueroa, who is from Boston by way of Puerto Rico, has spent the past two years in New York with his wife and 10-year-old son during his son’s treatment for cancer at a NY hospital. Until nine months ago, when they moved to a basement apartment on McKinley Avenue in Brooklyn, the Figueroas had struggled to find affordable housing that would allow them to remain in New York. They had moved often, one time to temporary housing provided by Ronald McDonald House, an organization which assists families with children being treated for health issues.

The McKinley Avenue apartment represented a safe haven, where the Figueroas hoped to remain until their son completed his treatment in 2012. But recently, water began to leak through the ceiling, ruining the family’s TV. Jesus, who works as a delivery man and also volunteers at Ronald McDonald House, asked his landlord to fix the ceiling. When the landlord refused, Jesus brought the matter to court. An inspector subsequently visited the Figueroa home; he told a surprised Jesus that the apartment was illegal and had to be vacated—the very next day.

“I didn’t know where to turn for help,” said Jesus. Then, on the morning of the vacate, Red Cross relief workers appeared at his door. “Red Cross explained everything that was going on,” said Jesus. “And they put us up at a hotel.” The Red Cross also gave the family a stipend for food and described every step they would need to take going forward.

“If the Red Cross hadn’t been there, I would have had to go home to Boston,” said Jesus, who moved with his family into long-term housing provided by the Housing Preservation Department and can now remain in New York during his son’s treatment. “The Red Cross was very humane.”

Jesus Figueroa from Brooklyn

1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.