Puerto Rican family in Williamsburg after hurricanes, says help is hard to find

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – A family of four survived the wrath of hurricanes Irma and Maria and is staying with family in Williamsburg.  But they’ve learned finding help was harder than expected, so they reached out to 10 On Your Side.

Michael High brought his family of four to stay with his parents in Williamsburg.  However, his parents are moving out of their home at the end of the month and he is on disability, so the clock is ticking to find a new place to stay.

It’s been an uncertain few months for the High family.

“It’s traumatic, especially for the kids,” said Michael High.

After Irma and then Maria, the family stayed in Puerto Rico, hoping things would get better.  High said, “Directly after the storm, there was nothing.  No radio, no cell phones, no electricity, no water.”

For them, that never changed.  High said, “The only thing I can say is destruction.”

Michael’s wife Maria grew up in San Sebastian.  After the storms, normal life became nonexistent.

“You could stand in line for almost 14 hours for $10 of gas,” High said.

Leaving their family there was hard, but the Highs wanted the 9 and 11-year-old kids to get back in school.  Plus, without emergency services and fully-operational hospitals, they were nervous to stay.

High said, “We were told before we even started that we pretty much wouldn’t qualify for any help through FEMA because we did not lose, we did not have structural damage.”

The United Way and their kids’ schools have helped out with food and clothes.  “You know some warm clothing because we came from Puerto Rico,” High said.

But now, the clock is ticking for them to find a new home.  With his parents preparing to move and him being on disability, they’re hoping someone can help as they adjust to their new reality.

“I’d never in a million years would want to go through it again,” High said.

If you can help, contact Michael at michael.m.high@gmail.com or 757-784-4503.