They lost their homes in the Surfside condo collapse. There is a plan to help them

MIAMI – As families continue to wait for news of their missing loved ones after the condo tower collapsed in Surfside, many more have been left homeless and in need of help.

Many people “no longer have a home,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Surfside on Friday.

The American Red Cross provided emergency hotel accommodation Thursday evening for residents and others displaced by the collapse and will continue to do so for the next few days. Social workers trained by the Red Cross also began meeting with families to help them plan next steps and provide financial assistance on Friday.

“With Red Cross volunteers on the ground and others on their way, we meet families where they are by distributing basic supports like food, water and comfort items – and providing mental health support and spiritual care as survivors begin to deal with their emotions. Said Siara Campbell, regional communications director for Red Cross operations in South Florida. Campbell did not say how many people needed temporary housing.

Miami-Dade County spokeswoman Rachel Johnson told the Miami Herald on Friday afternoon that everyone who informed authorities they were homeless because of the tragedy have been placed in hotels. The group included those who lived at Champlain Towers South Condo or those who were evacuated from neighboring buildings. Johnson said she didn’t know how many people needed temporary housing.

Other organizations including the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Catholic charities, the Salvation Army and Florida Blue have also offered assistance to families. Operation Helping Hands, a partnership between United Way of Miami-Dade and the Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald, is collecting donations to help families meet their needs.

Florida is also in talks with Airbnb’s nonprofit wing, Airbnb.org, which helps provide free temporary housing in the event of an emergency. Talks revolve around creating travel vouchers to cover accommodation costs for those affected by the building collapse, including families of the missing.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the tragic building collapse and to the first responders leading the search and rescue efforts at the scene. Airbnb.org is actively coordinating with state and local authorities to offer our support to connect those affected by free temporary housing, ”Airbnb.org said in a statement.

Jacob Solomon, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, told the Miami Herald on Thursday that people can call the 211 hotline for help with housing, counseling and other services. A spokeswoman for the federation said she was not yet sure how many people had requested temporary accommodation or advice through the service.

Catholic Charities says it can provide housing for three families through its New Life Family Center. The agency can also help families who need to rent in a new location, as well as emergency food counseling and gift cards. For a full list of available services and details on how to apply, visit ccadm.org.

Anyone traveling to Miami due to the disappearance of their family and needing assistance with travel-related matters, including visas, airline tickets, personal documents, can contact Lea Padron from Senator Marco’s office. Rubio at [email protected], according to an Expedia Partnered State web page. The website is expedia.com/gmcvb.

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