Waterfront Building Collapse: A Plan for Displaced Families

As families continue to await news of their missing loved ones after the Surfside condo tower collapsed, 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 night 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 anyone 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 Jewish Federation of Greater Miami, 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 collect donations to help families with their needs.

Florida is also in talks with Airbnb’s nonprofit wing, Airbnb.org, which helps provide free temporary accommodation in case of 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.

Anybody travel to Miami because of the disappearance of his family and who needs help with travel-related matters, including visas, plane tickets and personal documents, can contact Lea Padron from Senator Marco Rubio’s office at [email protected], according to a report. Expedia web page in partnership with the state. The website is expedia.com/gmcvb.

This story was originally published June 25, 2021 5:35 pm.

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There’s never a dull moment in Florida – and Michelle is covering it as a real-time / Breaking News reporter for the Miami Herald. She graduated with Distinction from Florida International University, where she was Editor-in-Chief of Student Media PantherNOW. Previously, she worked as a news editor at WSVN Channel 7 and was a 2020-2021 Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism Fellow.

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