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City of Cleveland, MetroHealth pool community resources to aid Puerto Rican families

Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-04 17:27:13-05

The memories are still fresh.

"The noise is still in my mind, the way the winds attacked the island is something incredible," said Angel Rivera.

Rivera says he lost everything when Hurricane Maria roared across Puerto Rico.

"We lost our house, our house got flooded," he said.

But he ultimately decided to leave Puerto Rico because of his son's asthma.

"The moment before the hurricane came, he spent a month in the hospital, so we were so afraid of all the contamination around will be worse for him," said Rivera.

So his family, including his extended family of eight, moved to Cleveland in November.

"The island is difficult to get the resources, we're just lucky, we spent our savings money to get here," said Rivera.

"These individuals are starting from scratch, they don't have housing, they don't have employment," said Director of Inclusion and Diversity at MetroHealth Lourdes Negron McDaniel.

On Saturday, the folks at MetroHealth and the city of Cleveland teamed up to help people like Rivera with healthcare options, education advice and some job prospects.

"We are a welcoming city and we want to be helpful for everyone," said McDaniel.

Over 1,000 Puerto Ricans have settled here in Cleveland, and Rivera says this is where he'll likely make his permanent home.

"Where you're born always calls you, but now we're not expecting that, we are expecting to live in the United States," said Rivera.