NYC’s First Lady Chirlane Launches Fund For E. Harlem Victims

Photo: Rob Bennett for MYC Mayors Office

Photo: Rob Bennett for MYC Mayors Office

Today First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, announced the launch of a fundraising drive that will address the ongoing needs of those affected by the East Harlem explosion and building collapse on March 12. The funds will support a strategic relief plan with three primary components: a victims’ assistance fund to cover costs associated with rent, funeral arrangements and household expenses; case management and counseling services; and community-based outreach focused on immigrant communities.

First Lady McCray made the announcement alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio at Bethel Gospel Assembly, which counts among its congregation two victims of the collapse.

The first two components of the program will be administered by Safe Horizon. Union Settlement and LSA Family Health Service, which are based in East Harlem, will lead the community outreach effort. The Red Cross will continue to provide disaster mental health support to survivors of the East Harlem explosion, as well as help to transition disaster survivors from immediate needs to ongoing recovery.

The Real Estate Board of New York, Con Edison, the Association for a Better New York and the Rudin family, and the families and Board members of East Harlem Tutorial Program have already pledged $250,000 to the effort. The Mayor’s Office is also working closely with Speaker Mark-Viverito’s office to establish and operate the relief fund effort.

“If there’s one thing New Yorkers can count on, it’s other New Yorkers,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “While the primary objective of the Mayor’s Fund is to support large-scale projects that address persistent problems, when disaster strikes, we will never hesitate to use the flexibility of the Fund to provide our neighbors with crucial assistance.”

“The worst of times often bring out the best in our city, and that is certainly true today,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Thanks to the generosity of our private sector partners, combined with the passion and experience of the non-profit organizations that have signed on to this effort, New Yorkers, who just a few days ago lost everything, can take comfort in knowing they won’t have to walk the road to recovery alone.”

“I would like to thank the First Lady and Mayor de Blasio for stepping up to help East Harlem during this horrible tragedy,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I would also like to thank our first responders, the Red Cross, countless volunteers, and everyone else who donated food, office space, homes and their time to help East Harlem – these actions will never be forgotten. Through the Mayor’s Fund, we will be able to help New Yorkers affected by the blast and begin to heal together. New Yorkers always come together in times of crisis to help one another – and the response our community has received has been overwhelming.”

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