Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Organizations Team Up to Help East Harlem Residents Affected by Collapse

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TWC News: Organizations Team Up to Help East Harlem Residents Affected by Collapse
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While the cleanup continues, residents who lived in and nearby the destroyed buildings are wondering what's next, and the Red Cross, the Department of Education and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development are in East Harlem offering support to people who were displaced after Wednesday's explosion and building collapse. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

East Harlem residents are still shaken up.

"I fell from my bed to the other side, and the window came inside the room, so I was really nervous and shaking. Everything that I hear loud, sometimes I jump," said East Harlem resident Luci Reyes.

Four long days later, the displaced, many who haven't slept or eaten much, are making their way to La Marqueta. Part of the retail market has been turned into a New York City Resident Service Center, a one-stop shop of resources to get these folks back to some sense of normalcy.

"Whether it's housing, it's clothes, it's help with food. Some people have come in who have pets who need boarding," said Lynn Godfrey, an external affairs officer with the American Red Cross "There are others who are trying to connect with loved ones and get word out to concerned family and friends."

So far, more than 70 families have registered for assistance.

Caesar Mendoza's parents hesitated at first because they're unsure of their immigration status, but they were encouraged by the mayor's message that all are welcomed. Now, Mendoza's family of six has a temporary apartment nearby.

"It's good right now, for right now, but it's a little small for us," Mendoza said.

Others are still being shuffled around while the city and partner agencies try to find them permanent shelter.

"They put us up at the Salvation Army on 125th for two nights, and then last night, they put me on 47th Street in Manhattan at the YMCA," said one person.

It's an inconvenience, to say the least, and it's one some just can't afford.

"They're trying to give us a replacement to stay, but the bathroom, it was outside to share with everybody in the building, but I didn't accept it because as for me, I'm allergic to everything," Reyes said.

While the accommodations aren't perfect, New Yorkers say they do realize that the city is making an honest attempt to help, and they're appreciative.

The NYC Resident Service Center will be open this weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After that, NY1 is told that agencies will take it one day at a time, but will stick around for as long as residents need their help.

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