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Harlem Heights community dealing with significant storm damage

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Jasmine Singletary
Published: Updated:

A Harlem Heights community is dealing with significant storm damage.

It is a grim time for homeowners in the community, where people were waist-deep in water after Hurricane Ian. Many residents were left to sleep on water-filled mattresses or on the floors inside of their homes, where mold is beginning to grow, because they have nowhere else to go.

Trash fills the neighborhood streets, leaving a stench that people like Barbara Vazquez are living in the middle of.

“It’s starting to smell. It’s starting to get dug into by animals. We’re going to have serious health problems here soon,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez lives in a two-story home and had to move her kids upstairs when Ian hit. Water rushed into her bedroom on the first floor and in the blink of an eye, she watch both of her cars flood.

Later, she watched her neighbors suffer.

“If you take a shot of the family that’s standing over here, they need help; they need to get out of here,” Vazquez said.

A non-profit organization called Better Together stepped in to help. Isis LaRose was walking door-to-door to get families the help they need.

“So we are writing down needs for these families, and then we come out and bring them supplies. We also take note of what else is needed, and we have volunteers that are adopting these families and, one by one, driving out the supplies they need directly to them,” LaRose said.

Vazquez said people have been living in dangerous conditions for the last 12 days.

“These poor people are trying to get their trash out, and they still live in there; they don’t have anything left,” Vazquez said.

Better Together was in Harlem Heights last week and will be there again this week. If you would like to donate or volunteer, visit their website BetterTogetherus.org.