Betzabe Gomez asks Santa to fix home, heal father

Posted at 4:17 PM, Dec 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-23 16:17:10-05

ALDINE, TX (KTRK/CNN) - A letter to Santa from 8-year-old Betzabe Gomez includes a typical message saying she will leave milk and cookies, along with carrots and water, if he comes.

Nothing else about the letter is normal.

It starts, "Dear Santa, I need help in my house because when it's raining, the rain comes in."

Gomez's house was damaged by Hurricane Harvey and the family has been unable to afford repairs. They've also been turned down for help by FEMA.

The letter, and a video of Gomez talking about her father and his dialysis treatment, went viral after she wrote the letter at a friend's house.

The holidays are a special time for the Gomez family for another reason. Saturday was Betzabe's ninth birthday. She is the youngest of five children and just wants the family to live in a home without a hole in its roof.

"I don't really want anything," Gomez said. "Just for my house to get better and my dad too."

Dripping water has caused mold to grow in the home. The family, including her already ailing father, have no choice to but breathe it in.

Texas state representative Armando Walle has gotten to know the family and is trying to get them the assistance they need, but the relief agencies keep saying no. Both FEMA and the Small Business Administration have turned the family down for post-Harvey help.

"I think it's a travesty they were denied," Walle said. "We're helping them appeal. I read the letter. It indicated there weren't enough damages and threat to health and safety of these folks. Mold, to me, is a threat to health and safety of a family."

An anonymous donor helped the family pay back taxes incurred due to the father's illness. But that's just one step in moving forward.

The Gomez family is one example of many families still hurting from Hurricane Harvey and Betzabe is hoping to remind others what the holidays are about.

"We've been going through a lot, and I don't want any more children to go through this," Gomez said.

A You Caring page has been set up for the family to help cover their expenses. It has already raised $20,000.

Copyright 2017 KTRK via CNN. All rights reserved.