Valley healthcare worker denied rental assistance

1 year 7 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, April 06 2021 Apr 6, 2021 April 06, 2021 7:26 PM April 06, 2021 in News - Local

As a healthcare worker, Suzie Gonzales was on the front lines at the height of the pandemic in the Valley.

Gonzalez has been unable to return to work after catching the virus last July – and is still dealing with the side effects of it.

She never thought two weeks in the same hospital where she worked would turn into nine months stuck at home.

"I just haven't been able to get back to myself,” Gonzalez said, adding that she now needs an oxygen tank to survive and her doctor has started talking about getting her a lung transplant.

READ ALSO: Cameron County judge reminds public about rental assistance program  

She said she’s never depended on anyone but herself. But with her savings shrinking, Gonzalez sold her car, electronics, and even her burial plot to make ends meet.

"I really did need the money,” Gonzalez said. “And if I do end up dying because...you know...chances are I might die…it's like what am I going to do with myself?"

Desperate for help, Gonzalez applied for CARES Act rental assistance through the Brownsville-based non-profit Come Dream Come Build.

“I called them and they told me I was denied," Gonzalez said.

CDCB Policy Director Zoraima Diaz-Pineda said those funds came with nearly 300 pages of rules - and final decisions were out of their control.

READ ALSO: Rental assistance available for qualifying residents in Cameron County  

A new program – the Cameron County Emergency Rental Assistance – could help people like Gonzalez.

The program has far fewer rules and steps.

"All the information is being processed in-house,” Diaz-Pineda said. “The payments are being issued in-house. So we really streamlined the operation in terms of getting you from Point A. to Point B."

Diaz-Pineda added that people who previously applied for rental assistance and were denied now have a new opportunity to be served.

Gonzalez said she'll apply for rental assistance again, and hope for some good news to finally come her way.

Those wanting to apply for rental assistance can do so at CDCB.org or by calling 888-814-4744.

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