Puerto Rican family dependent on TSA program prepares to move into own home

By Paula Machado, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, February 05, 2018, 8:29 PM EST

The Valcarcel family is one of thousands of families displaced by Hurricane Maria who now call Florida their home.

After 4 months living in Central Florida, Orlando Valcárcel is ready to move into a new home with his family, which he’ll be renting for a year.

Walking into his empty house means the world to Valcárcel. He signed a lease agreement in the beginning of February and is anxiously waiting for his furniture to arrive.

“We came with two suitcases,” Valcarcel said. “But we knew we had to move. Things in Puerto Rico were getting really bad after the hurricane.”

In the meantime, his wife and kids are sleeping in a hotel just five blocks away.

Valcárcel arrived on Oct. 3 and just a week after started working as a server at renowned restaurant by the theme parks.

“I came to work. I came to offer stability to my family and put my kids in school,” Valcárcel said.

Him and his family where living at hotel on Colonial Drive, thanks to the Temporary Shelter Assistance program, but that was running out.

“That was just temporary for us. We needed a place to stay until we figured things out, but I knew it was for a limited time,” Valcárcel said.

“I got to move on and look forward. When I look backwards, (it’s) just to look to see who I was and where I want to be,” said Valcárcel while he showed us his three-bedroom home.

“I’m excited because our home in Puerto Rico had two rooms. Now my oldest son can have his own space,” Valcárcel said. “I know I have to work for what I have, and I’ve been saving money, but it won’t stop here. Next year I want to own my house and keep my legacy.”