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'It touched me so much': Catholic Charities helps woman secure new home after Matthew

Posted February 3

— Some families devastated and displaced by Hurricane Matthew are still trying to find their way.

Deena Stutt, the caretaker of two young grandsons in Goldsboro, said she is happy to just have a roof over her head.

"When I look around, I see the rebuilding and the people back on their feet, but I also see a lot of people that aren't. They are still struggling," Stutt said.

Stutt said she found herself in that group back in November. The hurricane didn't destroy her home, but she said her landlord decided not to fix the damage.

She had 30 days to find a new place for her family. Her boys were worried.

"They were scared," Stutt said. "And they thought we were going to have to leave their school."

Wanda Collazo, regional director for the Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Raleigh, was able to help.

"It is very difficult because we already deal with a population that is already in a situation where it's hard for them to afford housing that they can sustain," Collazo said.

She said many of Hurricane Matthew's hardest hit families are also on limited income, unprepared financially for a major disaster.

Catholic Charities found its niche in helping to get families off their feet by finding them secure housing.

"To secure rent deposits for rent payments. In some cases, we've been able to purchase inspection materials for families so they are able to put repairs on their homes," Collazo said.

So far, Catholic Charities has helped 400 families in 33 counties.

Stutt said she was desperate when she contacted Catholic Charities.

"I said I need help with the deposit and I can pretty much handle the rent," she said.

A woman who was an out-of-state volunteer returned Stutt's call within 24 hours.

"She said, 'We have $1,000 for you,'" Stutt said. "I said, 'What?' I almost died...it touched me so much."

Catholic Charities said Hurricane Matthew was one of the largest disasters they have responded to in years. People continue to donate from across the country, and Catholic Charities says every dollar helps.


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