Article Courtesy of
The Miami Herald
January 1, 2005
Moe Gottlieb of Sunrise is at an age when he should be
set for life. At 88, he owns a condominium and has a small but steady income
that meets his retirement needs.
But Hurricane Wilma came along and destroyed his most
precious possession: his home.
Gottlieb's Sunrise Lakes Boulevard condo is a mess.
Ceilings caved in one after the other. The walls are blackened with mold. The
carpets are ruined. And he lost most of his clothes and furnishings.
He applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency
for help and received only $2,700.
''That's not enough,'' said Gottlieb, who gets by on a
small pension and Social Security payments. "I am living with a friend of
mine until I can figure out how I can get my home fixed.''
There are at least three places to turn for senior
citizens on a fixed income who did not get enough money from FEMA to fix their
• Bill Raphan, the
state's associate condominium ombudsman. Raphan's job, a position within the
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation's Division of Land
Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes, is to mediate disputes between condo
owners and their associations.
The ombudsman's services are free to condo owners.
''That condo has tremendous hurricane-related damage,''
said Raphan, who said he has dealt with Gottlieb's condo before.
Raphan contacted FEMA and got them to agree to
re-evaluate Gottlieb's damage. He hopes Gottlieb will get more money after
He spoke with Gottlieb and is speaking directly with
FEMA and the condo association.
• The Areawide
Council on Aging of Broward County helps seniors with almost any problem.
''If he calls us directly, we can refer him to different
groups that can help him out,'' a spokesman said.
• Neighbors to the
Rescue, a new program started by Volunteer Broward.
Its director of community relations, Audra Vaz, expects
that by mid-February Neighbors to the Rescue will have enough volunteers who
specialize in home repairs to help fix Gottlieb's home.
The organization is looking for volunteers who are handy
with tools and can transport items. They also are looking for donations of
clothing and furniture.
And once volunteers are in place next month, Vaz expects
that Neighbors to the Rescue will be able to help fix up Gottlieb's condo.
''We would love to help Mr. Gottlieb,'' Vaz said.