The day Superstorm Sandy hit the coast of New Jersey, Palma and her family were standing in their home in a foot of water. They knew they had to evacuate immediately.
“Trying to get out was a nightmare,” says Palma of her escape from the neighborhood. “The street was flooded and we had to drive on the neighbors’ lawns.”
Palma’s family evacuated to her mother’s home five miles to the south, and after the storm had passed, the family came back to their home to survey the damage.
“It was like a war zone. Utter devastation,” said Palma of her neighborhood. She watched her neighbors walking around their destroyed properties inspecting the damage and crying over everything they had lost.
Palma and her family remained displaced for the next three years, two months, and two days. The process of applying for aid from the state, institutions designed to support people in need after a disaster, was frustrating and slow. After a year of wading through bureaucracy, they were told they did not qualify for support.
At a loss for what to do next, Palma heard from a friend about A Future With Hope, an International Relief Teams partner organization, that was rebuilding homes for those in need in New Jersey. It took just 10 months and she was home again in a brand new house built by IRT volunteers.
Palma is incredibly thankful to these two organizations for working together to give her back her life. She knows without their support, she would still be homeless.
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