HOUSTON - Houston’s Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home for families with seriously ill children. “They turned away my 4-year-old daughter because of something someone else did,” says Evelyn Flores, whose daughter Jolynn is battling brain cancer.
The family is from Harlingen and despite a previous stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Corpus Christi, their application for housing in Houston was denied when the required background check on Jolynn’s father revealed a couple of DWI’s, and a misdemeanor assault.
“We were denied because of my husband’s record, which is something my daughter had nothing to do with and also because she has a Spanish last name,” says Flores.
She even tried to compromise. “I offered him, if me and my daughter can stay there by ourselves, without my husband, and he said nope.”
We reached out to Leslie Bourne, CEO of the Houston Ronald McDonald House. Bourne sent us a statement saying, in part:
“The RMH Houston Board has developed policies that are in the best interest of all the children and families staying at our House, including conducting criminal background checks.”
Flores and LULAC don’t believe a word, and want the Ronald McDonald House to amend their policies, issue a letter of apology, compensate the family for expenses incurred due to the rejection and include more Hispanics on their board.
Johnny Mata from Greater Houston Coalition for Justice agrees, “I’m sure if they think this problem is going to go away, I have news for them, it’s not.”