Life improves for displaced Puerto Rican family in Lakeland

For one Puerto Rico family, life in Lakeland is improving since they were displaced from their home following Hurricane Maria.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott held a roundtable discussion near Miami on Tuesday to discuss what Florida can do to help displaced the nearly 300,000 Puerto Ricans who have relocated to the state following Hurricane Maria.

For Maria Rexach's family, they're still adjusting to their new home in Lakeland, but things are better than when they moved to the in October.

“Now, I can say I'm happy,” Rexach said.

Rexach pored over stacks of papers with government programs aimed to help her, but in the end, it was United Way that found her an apartment and will help pay for furniture. She moves in this week.

“I don't care how small it is,” she said. “It's home.”

She's taken some time to get to know Florida, checking out Lakeland and seeing family in Miami. Her husband, who was in town visiting, is staying in Puerto Rico and trying to get help from FEMA to rebuild their destroyed home - which still doesn't have power.

She wants to move back to Puerto Rico if they can rebuild their home, but doesn’t know when that will happen. 

“Everything is going to be okay,” she said. “It's going to take time. It is, but it's going to be okay.”

Many displaced Puerto Ricans will celebrate Three Kings Day in Florida for the first time this year.

Here's the celebrations in our area.

 

Nacidos en Divina Micericordia Inc.

702 Railroad St., Wimauma

Jan. 6, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

 

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Jan. 1–6

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 

Seaworld Orlando

Jan. 1-6

© 2018 WTSP-TV


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