New York – Assistance for Tenants Displaced by Bronx Fire

Governor Hochul Announces $2 Million in Assistance for Tenants Displaced by Deadly Bronx Fire

New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced $2 million in assistance to help tenants impacted by the deadly fire at a 19-story high-rise apartment in the Tremont neighborhood of the Bronx on January 9.  Funded through the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program and through New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Housing Trust Fund Corporation, this assistance will provide tenants with case management services, personal property replacement, and relocation and rental assistance to help address critical household needs.

“When I met the tenants affected by the apartment fire in the Bronx, including many who immigrated to our state with hopes of finding a better life, I could see the unspeakable pain in their eyes, and I pledged to help them recover,” Governor Hochul said.  “All those affected are part of our New York State family, and we will help give them the support they need to recover.  I want those impacted to know that we will not forget you, we will not abandon you, we are here for you.”

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin said,  “The entire state of New York mourns with those affected by the tragic fire in the Bronx, an unimaginable tragedy that took the precious lives of sons, daughters, wives, husbands, and friends. Governor Kathy Hochul and I both know that no words can take away the pain of the loss faced by family members and friends of those who were taken from us too soon.  Through the victims compensations fund, we will provide our fellow New Yorkers with whatever support they need, and we are committed to doing so—in lockstep with the City of New York—in the coming months and years.”

Under Governor Hochul’s direction, OTDA will work with Bronx Works, a non-profit organization contracted through the state’s Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program, to provide emergency housing case management and benefits assistance to those affected by the tragic fire.  Bronx Works will provide intake staff at the service center New York City established at Monroe College’s Ustin Hall, which is located nearby the non-profit organization’s offices.

Bronx Works will provide fire victims with case management services, personal property replacement, relocation assistance, rental assistance, burial assistance, and other support to help meet critical household needs such as loss of income due to the death of a household member.  Displaced households may receive additional assistance depending on their circumstance.

The Office for New Americans is currently working to connect impacted individuals with immigration legal assistance as needed.

Homes and Community Renewal has engaged CVR, a national organization focused on administering Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and providing relocation assistance.  This organization will help provide support to families wishing to relocate.

The fire that broke out at a duplex apartment on the second and third floors of the high-rise killed 17 residents, including young children, and injured more than 40 others.  At the time, there were 118 occupied units in the building.

The Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program provides for the emergency needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless.  Funds are used to augment existing programs that provide stabilizing services and move these individuals and families toward self-sufficiency.

OTDA Acting Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said,  “The East 181 Street apartment fire has created unthinkable anguish for the tenants of this building and their families.  Helping them through this trauma starts with ensuring they have access to the necessary support and resources to start anew.  Through this program, we can help those displaced by the fire to find temporary or permanent housing, replace damaged property and secure other support to help them stabilize their lives and recover from this tragedy.”

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said,  “New York State will continue to do everything possible to help those impacted by this tragedy.  We remain actively engaged with tenants, New York City officials, the property owner, and the affordable housing community to ensure that there are options for households who need both short- and long-term relocation.  Through the creation of this important fund, the Governor has shown that residents will have the financial support and resources they need to piece their lives back together and find safe, secure housing.”

New York City’s Human Resources Administration is coordinating the immediate relief efforts and is also providing burial expenses to victims.  The American Red Cross is providing lodging for victims for up to two weeks and monetary assistance to the families of the deceased.

New York City Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins said,  “We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to all who have been impacted by this incredible tragedy, and we are committed to doing everything we can to support these tenants during this exceptionally difficult time.  We commend the State’s initiative in contributing to these efforts and providing vital assistance to our fellow New Yorkers as we work together to help rebuild this community in its greatest hour of need.”

Bronx Works Executive Director Eileen Torres said,  “Being responsive to the needs of our Bronx neighbors at all times but especially after such an immeasurable tragedy is core to the Bronx Works mission.  With the East 181st Street apartments located just blocks away from our offices, the families and individuals that endured this horrific fire are quite literally our neighbors, so we are proud to be there for them during their time of need.  We applaud Governor Hochul for her compassion and for her leadership to help provide this community with the resources to begin to recover from this horrific event.”

Fradique Rocha, Co-Chief Executive Officer, CVR Associates said,  “For years we have worked closely with the people of The Bronx and we are devastated by this horrible tragedy.  Since last week’s fire, we have been supporting aid efforts and we are eager to partner with New York State to provide this community with the additional help it needs.  Moving forward, we will continue to do everything we can to help residents get back to their homes or find a new place to live.”

Earlier this week, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City established the Bronx Fire Relief Fund to support those affected by the fire.  In addition, the Bronx Community Foundation, and the Gambian Youth Organization are raising funds to support the needs of the fire victims.