By Emily Drooby
The flooding line still visible in Leticia’s Queens apartment, weeks after Tropical Storm Ida hit NYC. Mold now covers the walls.
Tropical storm Ida flooded into her basement apartment. It was swift and hit without any warning. It left her desperate for a way out.
Leticia explained, “I didn’t expect that, it was like, for a couple minutes, I was like, what am I going to do. As soon as the water broke in, it broke the door and I just said, I have to get out.
Water was up to her knees within five minutes. If she didn’t have a second exit, she said she wouldn’t have made it out alive.
She’s one of the lucky ones. At least 11 New Yorkers died in basement dwellings during the storm. They’re not always legal, so there’s no way to know how many exist.
The city is working on a warning system for basement dwellers during floods but it’s not set to come out until 2023.
Leticia thanks God that she’s alive, but her home of twelve years is unlivable, and all her possessions are gone.
Leticia told Currents News, “I work so many years for this, to stand up on my feet, and it’s really sad. But I think God is going to help me, and I am going to make it.”
She’s facing a harsh reality. A two-bedroom near her church, St. Mary’s Winfield averages more than $2,100 a month.
She’s not alone says her pastor, Father Christopher O’Connor.
He explained, “I have about five families who I know of who are homeless right now.”
Father O’Connor says the whole parish is pitching in… And FEMA can help, too, but that money could take a while.
In the meantime, Leticia is staying with family and relying on her faith.
“My faith is what has me standing on my feet, because I have faith,” she said while standing outside of her church.
If you’d like to support those impacted by Ida, you can donate to the U.S. Bishops’ Emergency Disaster Fund. Just head over to USCCB.ORG and click “Help Now.”
The money collected in this special appeal will be used to support the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the church as well as the efforts of Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services.