SOMERVILLE (CBS) – A young Somerville mom is feeling a renewed sense of hope that she and her daughter with special needs will soon have a place to call home.
As the WBZ I-Team reported last week, Jenny Marroquin fell victim to an elaborate rental scam, losing hundreds of dollars right before the holidays.
But ever since the story aired, Jenny has been blown away by the generosity of complete strangers in the community.
“Just thinking about it warms my heart,” she told WBZ.
For nearly a year, Jenny and her five-year-old daughter, Anjeli, have been living in a homeless shelter.
Jenny thought she’d found the perfect apartment in Somerville. However, the online listing was really a sophisticated scheme the FBI is seeing nationwide.
Jenny lost $1,600, a devastating blow right before the holidays.
But there are now thousands of reasons for her and Anjeli, who’s deaf, to smile.
An online fundraising page has raised more than $10,000. The donations are accompanied by simple messages of support like, “keep fighting,” “your strength is inspiring,” and “God bless you and your little girl.”
“It’s amazing,” Jenny expressed. “It just reminds everybody that there are still a lot of good people in this world.”
After seeing the story, a Milford couple sent a check for $1,600—the entire amount Jenny lost—to WBZ I-Team reporter Ryan Kath. The couple requested anonymity, asking Kath to hand-deliver the gift.
The gesture immediately brought Jenny to tears.
“I literally have no words for how thankful me and Anji are,” she said after receiving the check.
The next challenge is finding a home that is financially-sustainable for the young family. Affordable apartments in the Somerville area are scarce. Waiting lists for public housing can last years.
Jenny is hoping to find a place that will allow her to continue working a retail job while beginning to take classes at Bunker Hill Community College in January. Her daughter also receives transportation to attend Beverly School for the Deaf.
High school counselor Zanny Alter has spent hours helping Jenny fill out applications and speaking with local housing services. WBZ has also contacted area lawmakers to see if they can facilitate the process.
Based on the positive response to Jenny’s story, Alter remains optimistic something will work out.
“I have this restored faith in the community and the beautiful things that happen when people come together,” she said.
As the holidays approach, Jenny and her daughter will continue to dream they will eventually have their own place to call home.
“It’s going to feel like we made it,” she said through tears. “I can pick Anji up and tell her that we made it.”
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.