City turns to community groups for refocused East Harlem response
The city is turning to community-based groups for the next phase in its response to the tragic East Harlem explosion.
The de Blasio administration announced on Tuesday that it would shift its focus from emergency response to the long-term needs of New Yorkers affected by the explosion.
Part of that shift includes local nonprofit Safe Horizon — one of the original partners who coordinated relief work — working with other local groups to develop some sort of services package for local residents.
Using money raised by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Safe Horizon will also lead the Victims Assistance Fund, which secures grants for anybody who lived in the affected units — including funeral and housing costs.
The blast on March 13 leveled two buildings along Park Avenue, killing eight people and injuring more than 60 New Yorkers.
“Whether it’s displaced families, small businesses or anyone else affected by the blast, New York City is ready to provide important and much-needed support to those who need it,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem.
As of March 18, the Mayor’s Fund reported it collected almost $270,000 in pledges and donations for the city’s relief and rebuilding work. The administration said on Tuesday evening that it would release an updated figure later this week.
New Yorkers looking for assistance should call Safe Horizon at (212) 316-2100 or visit the Manhattan-Bronx Community Program at 100 East 122nd St. The center is open Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Affected residents can also call Safe Horizon’s 24-hour hotline at (866) 689-HELP.
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria