2002-03-02 / Front Page

Displaced Family Seeks Help

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms


Cathy Nerney poses with her daughter near the site of what they once called home. The family has faced numerous hardships since being displaced from a fire that destroyed their second floor home around Christmas of last year.Cathy Nerney poses with her daughter near the site of what they once called home. The family has faced numerous hardships since being displaced from a fire that destroyed their second floor home around Christmas of last year.

On December 24 of last year, the Martinez family’s world changed within a matter of minutes, as a fire raged through the second floor of a two-story home they resided in at 140 Beach 90 Street. While nobody was injured, the family, Eddie Martinez, his wife Cathy Nerney, and their two children, had been housed by the Red Cross shortly after the fire. Since that time, the family has experienced even more hardship, and still does not have a place to call home.

"It’s really frustrating to watch them struggle like this. It is so unfair because they are really good people. I pray that something is done to help them, even if it’s on the smallest scale," said Miguel Martinez, 45, the brother of Eddie Martinez.

The Martinez family has struggled to get by with the help of a few friends and family members. They joined in assisting the family after Social Security Insurance benefits were discontinued, which came as a result of their S.S.I. paperwork being lost within the United States Postal Service. They ultimately had to re-file their claim, and to have the new claim processed and benefits distributed, could take months.

Miguel notes that there are a number of other circumstances that are complicating efforts to have the family obtain help.

"This whole thing started because the family could not afford to buy insurance for their home, so they had to go without it. They cannot go into a shelter because they have an autistic child who can’t speak, and another that is "slow", in terms of her mental capacity. I, along with many family members, have done all we can do to support them financially, but it’s getting harder to help them because we are struggling too."

As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, Miguel goes on to note that things just got much worse.

"My brother just lost his job as a porter at Dayton Towers because he was taking too many days off from work to care for his wife. She has been sick for a very long time, and he has tried to take care of her and the children. It’s a scary time for them, and, I’m really worried about their future," said the brother.

The family spokesperson revealed that the Democratic District Leader, Lew Simon, had tried to help the family in a number of ways, but his attempts were unsuccessful.

"Lew was great, he was trying so hard, especially with trying to speed up the process to obtain housing and S.S.I. benefits for the family. It’s just been very difficult for him to get the proper people involved. He was frustrated, but we are happy to know he really tried," he said.

If you know of anyone, or any agency, that might be instrumental in helping the Martinez family in some way, please contact the office of The Wave.


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