OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Ray Rodríguez arrived at Westgate Towers resort in Kissimmee after living at a Red Lion hotel for more than a month.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Rodríguez said. “I think it’s gonna be better here, better than Good Samaritan.”
The 76-year-old is one of about 60 Good Samaritan Village residents who had been at the Red Lion hotel because they were forced to leave their homes after Hurricane Ian flooded their senior living community.
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On Friday, Osceola County deputies escorted a caravan of cars and buses from the Red Lion hotel to Westgate Towers — their new temporary home after Good Samaritan Society said it would not restore 523 homes because of extensive damage from Ian.
“We have built an incredible ecosystem, a safety net for seniors, all in collaboration with so many partners to ensure that they are safe,” Karla Radka, the president and CEO of Senior Resource Alliance said.
The SRA organization said it worked in collaboration with Osceola County, the Red Cross, Osceola Council on Aging and other nonprofits to ensure safety and provide solutions for the affected residents of Good Samaritan Village.
“What we call this project is neighbor to neighbor. They are all under one roof with their friends and we know how important socialization is when you are facing the same disaster,” Radka said. “We are ensuring that they are in a place that is safe, that welcomes them with open arms. in a place where we have allocated many resources to ensure that the quality of life is not affected as much as it has been in these past few weeks.”
Commissioner Peggy Choudry of District 1 said the county is looking into who will be held accountable.
“I can assure you that Osceola County and the entire board, we’re all on the same page when we talk about wanting to do something legally that we can do as a county,” Choudry said.
As far as Rodríguez is concerned, he hopes Good Samaritan management is held responsible.
“You see the people crying that lost everything because they lied to them. ‘Oh, this place will never flood again we fixed it.’ Up to two months ago they were telling people that,” he said.
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