Rocio Fuentes weighed up the cost of getting some new sofas for her new apartment in Pasadena, Texas, and decided the family budget could just about stretch to it. Just one month after moving in, Hurricane Harvey swept through and the Fuenteses were left not only with the ruined furniture but also an ongoing rental demand for a dwelling they had to flee.
At first we didnt think it would be that bad, but then the water came through the wall and up through the carpet, Fuentes said. Once we saw the water wasnt going to stop, we left.
Fuentes, her husband Jaime and their five children, ages ranging from seven months to 14 years, were plucked from the floodwaters by her mother, who arrived in a truck. They are now crammed into her sisters apartment and with no insurance have little idea where they will live next. Jaime is unable to earn money because his construction job has been paused due to the flooding.
But while everything has changed for this family, they are still expected to pay for their abandoned home.
Our landlords say we have to pay rent and late fees and every day it is going up, Fuentes said. We are paying rent for somewhere we cant live in. They said you arent the only ones in this situation, but what are we supposed to do? We dont have any money. We dont have anything.