The Calm after a Devastating Storm

How this family was able to overcome after the devastion of Hurricane Maria

The names and faces in this article have been changed to protect the identity of this family.

To date, the devastating storm of Hurricane Maria in 2017, has left thousands of homes destroyed and over half the residents in Puerto Rico still without power, forcing many families to seek refuge in the United States.  Regarded as the worst natural disaster ever recorded, it is estimated that more than 400K people are homeless or without electricity.  This was the case for the Santiago Family.  They were forced to leave everything behind and start over. 

After the storm hit, Marco Santiago and his young son, Peter, relocated to Elizabeth.  At the time of their arrival they shared a cramped space with their only relative currently living in the United States. Thankful they were safe with this relative however, the landlord of the apartment they shared found out and began threatening Marco’s relative with eviction if they didn’t leave. Without any income or job prospects, the Santiago Family became fearful and desperate for help.

While out in the community they heard about the rental assistance program provided by PROCEED, Inc., one of our nonprofit partners in Union County and contacted a case manager at the James Kellogg Multicultural (JKM) Family Success Center.  Family Success Centers are gathering places where families can receive wrap around services and support to help them get back on their feet.  United Way of Greater Union County oversees four Family Success Centers in the county including the JKM Family Success Center at PROCEED, Inc.

The case manager who helped the Santiago Family was able to address their housing needs right away, providing support with a security deposit and first month’s rent. Marco was also able to secure a livable wage job in neighboring Linden, which is close proximity to his home and, where he’ll be close to Peter.  The Family Success Center also referred Marco to an organization that helps families find after care for their children.

Although the Santiago family had gone through a lot of unfortunate events, they were provided with help and care.  They are grateful for the help of the case manager and staff at the JKM Family Success Center. And it is because of loyal supportive donors who understand of mission of care, that family success centers such as JKM can provide critical assistance those in need.

View and download our Family Success Center brochure



May 2018