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Grand Street Fire Update

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Workers inside the Grand Street buildings destroyed in last week's fire remove personal belongings from apartments to be inspected for evidence. In this photo, you can see clothes being thrown from windows, into a large bin on the street.

Here’s an update on the efforts to help the victims of the Grand Street fire:

  • The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is working on finding long-term housing for about 200 people displaced by the disaster. Right now, they’re living in two hotels — one in Queens and one at 124th Street/Park Avenue. At least two organizations we know of – LES People’s Mutual Housing and Cooper Square – have offered apartments to some families.
  • Asian Americans for Equality has set up a Grand Street Fire Fund and already raised several thousand dollars to help residents replace documents destroyed in the fire. Edison Properties (The Ludlow) has contributed $5000 to the fund. AAFE has also been working with several banks, who have all offered to waive certain fees normally charged when documents need to be replaced. Last week, residents had reported banks were asking them to pay hundreds of dollars to replace safe deposit box keys. Among the banks working with AAFE: Citibank, HSBC, Cathay and Chase. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Daniel Squadron have sent a letter to NYC banks reinforcing the importance of waiving fees for the fire victims.
  • University Settlement is working with tenants, helping them navigate city and state red tape. In some cases, they’re assisting them in filing property damage claims. They’re also providing translating services, since the city does not have many Chinese translators.  University Settlement is offering advice to tenants on their legal rights. Jennifer Vallone, director of the organization’s Project Home program, said there are no easy answers for the residents of 283 and 285 Grand. Since those buildings are being demolished, their legal status as rent stabilized tenants will cease to exist. Whether they can be accommodated in any new building that goes up on the Grand Street site, is mostly a political question.
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  1. Hi, Ed, how are you? I am a victim of the Grand Street Fire in April, I lived at 283 Grand Street in the apartment on 5th floor facing to Grand Street. I come across to read your news today. You mentioned that fire officials would return us our belongings after they completed sorting. I was able to recover my photo album and expired passport, expired credit cards. Other tenants also recovered photo albums and expired passports. One tenant was able to recovered the violin. In the Grand Street meeting of CCBA, the Mayor Bloomberg’s assistant said the workers would carefully remove items in each unit. They would label them and returned them back to us. Now, we can’t get anything back. I am wondering where are our belongings. Do you know what dept generally keep. Please help us!!!!!
    Thank you,

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