MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Ten-month-old Victoria Isabel, who requires a breathing and feeding tube, has spent half of her short life in the same Puerto Rican where she was born.
“No one knows what it’s like to have a child with a medical condition,” says her mother, Maricelis Jimenez.
Maricelis says their lives have been an even bigger struggle after Hurricane Maria forced them to flee Puerto Rico. Victoria’s feeding tube became infected and, due to power outages, she could not get the medical care she needed. Maricelis and Victoria flew to Miami to get her some help but she says the challenges of getting Victoria that medical care in the mainland have been outrageous.
The hospital where they wound up in Miami turned them away because the Medicaid she received in Puerto Rico did not transfer here, Maricelis says. Thanks to several agencies that came together to assist her and Victoria with the issue, she got Medicaid.
But the issue is now housing.
“Since the mother could not work and is on disability in Puerto Rico, then coming here to the main U.S. land, her public housing does not transfer,” said Ernie Martinez, a community advocate.
Maricelis and Victoria are currently staying at a condo, provided free of charge by Airbnb for a week. Her husband is due to arrive from Puerto Rico by then and the three of them do not have a place to stay as of yet.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I really don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Maricelis.
One of the agencies helping Maricelis out, Push To Open, says they’re accepting donations on her behalf. You can go to ptoinc.org if you’d like to help out.