TITUSVILLE, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A family displaced by Hurricane Maria was surprised with a new, mortgage-free home in Titusville on Tuesday.
Non-profit organizations Latino Leadership and Hogar Hispano Inc. in partnership with JP Morgan Chase donated the home to the Jurado family of six.
“I feel happy. I feel blessed,” said new homeowner Janie Jurado, who will move into the house with her husband and four children.
The family was living in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria struck in 2017 and they lost everything, including their housing. Juan Jurado said he and his wife tried to stay on the island after the hurricane but ended up moving to Orlando and staying with family. He said they have been trying to get back on their feet for more than a year.
“It’s almost impossible to get back on your feet sometimes when you have nothing to start with and then you lose the only one stable thing in your life and that’s your house and we thought we have to help,” said Marcos Morales, executive director of Hogar Hispano.
The national non-profit facilitates opportunities of homeownership for people from underserved and low income communities by acquiring distressed real estate owned assets to renovate and sell or lease to income-qualified buyers.
Morales said part of Hogar Hispano’s goal is to donate homes to hurricane survivors. They have donated three over the past year and a half. JP Morgan Chase spent around $40,000 in renovations and donated the home to Hogar Hispano. Morales said Hogar Hispano then partnered with Latino Leadership in Orlando to find a deserving family.
The Latino Leadership is a grassroots organization committed to developing and administering permanent programs that help the Hispanic community. The organization provides housing, counseling, emergency relief services, mental health services, and autism therapies to families.
The Jurado family receives services from Latino Leadership. The family wrote a letter explaining why they should be chosen to get the new home and a committee selected them from three finalists.
Morales said Latino Leadership will work with the family through the entire process of owning a home.
“They’re going to make sure they don’t go get extra debt… They’re going to make sure they take it easy, they take it slow, they understand how to maintain home-ownership.”