Local agencies come together, create welcome website to help Puerto Ricans coming to Cleveland

CLEVELAND -

Many families have left Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria devastated the island. According to Tri-C's Director of Diversity and Inclusion, a total of 200,000 Puerto Ricans are estimated to come to the states because of the hurricane.

Some of them are choosing Cleveland because they have a connection to the area.

“A lot of families come, because they follow other family members,” said Magda Gomez, Tri-C Director of Diversity & Inclusion.

Gomez said more than 90 percent of the Hispanic population in Northeast Ohio is Puerto Rican.

On Nov. 10, Cuyahoga Community College’s president, Alex Johnson, brought together about 25 agencies - including local hospitals, schools, housing and food banks - to come up with a one-stop website for these new Clevelanders from Puerto Rico to help them adjust.

This new website, called Bienvenidos a Cleveland, launched on Monday. It has links to resources to help families from Puerto Rico adjust to life in Cleveland.

The Spanish American Committee Executive Director Ramonita Vargas said most of the people who were devastated from the affects of the hurricane come to the area looking for housing or jobs. She said she has never been so busy, since the hurricane hit.

“Although it’s been overwhelming, it gives us a sense of pride because we’re doing something good for the community,” said Vargas.

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