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More than a dozen families from Puerto Rico relocate to Lorain

Posted at 4:29 PM, Oct 13, 2017

As the rush to help the struggling people of Puerto Rico continues, some families are finally out of harm's way.

Dozens of them are now calling one Northeast Ohio community home. Many more are expected to arrive in the coming days and weeks.

“You're there and you see it and it's heartbreaking," said Angel Arroyo.

Arroyo just returned from Puerto Rico.

"Seen a lady washing clothes in dirty water," said Arroyo.

The Lorain City Councilman now has a better understanding why so many people are desperate to leave the island.

"It's ridiculous the support that they're not receiving in these communities," said Arroyo.

To get the help they need, more than a dozen families are now seeking refuge in Lorain.

"Are we ready for this? And when they come here, how do we provide services for them?" asked Arroyo.

Several families are already on their way to the city. As roads across Puerto Rico are cleared and access to the airport opens up, there will be even more knocking on Lorain's door.

"I think it's very important for them to anticipate that and start getting ready for that," said Thelma Cruz.

Cruz works at El Centro Social Services in Lorain.

"Their first stop is usually here to us," said Cruz.

Cruz connects new families with the help they need, including getting children access to education.

"Is Lorain City Schools prepared?" asked Arroyo.

A spokesperson tells News 5 that the district is ready, and the superintendent is committed to hiring more teachers for students who don't speak English if current staffing is not enough.

"We can't control if 5,000 people come to our community. They're more than welcome to my ward, more than welcome to our city," said Arroyo.

Regardless of the final number, the existing resources in Lorain will be put to the test.

"There definitely will be a stress. I think that if we all work together, but it's not just El Centro, El Centro is connected to a lot of different places," said Cruz.

Employers in the community are already anticipating the need for jobs for these hurricane survivors.

Arroyo was approached by a business owner Friday morning.

"Hey, I have a refrigerator business, we repair them, I'm willing to hire 8-12 young men that'll come from Puerto Rico," said Arroyo.

They're jobs that'll start at $16 an hour.

"If we get them, we're going to need more business owners like the business in Avon that said we want to help," said Arroyo.