THE BRONX – Days after a devastating fire in the Bronx killed 17 people and displaced dozens, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday called on housing officials to help the families find permanent new homes.
Schumer said of the 120 housing units in Twin Parks North West building, where the fatal fire occurred, 90 families have federal housing vouchers attached to their rent.
The Section-8 vouchers are usually attached to the apartment, according to Schumer. However, when tragedy hits, the vouchers then transfer over to the tenants.
“People right away need a place to live. They don’t want to live in the school, they don’t want to live in the shelter,” Schumer said.
Schumer sent a letter to the Housing and Urban Development, requesting they work with state and city officials to communicate with those impacted and help them find new homes.
“A permanent place to live is critical to helping these impacted families recover from this horrible tragedy,” said Schumer. “I was on the scene of this fire and one thing is clear: while officials work to determine what went wrong, we must also focus on getting the displaced back into a place they can call home. A new home will be a huge part of the healing process, and we need the feds to work hand-in-glove with the state and city to help make it happen as soon as possible. I have full confidence they will heed the call.”
The vouchers will help pay for rental costs families may have, the senator said.
Items that were lost in the blaze are not included in the vouchers, but Schumer said they can likely be covered in other ways, and he believes the city and state has created funds for that specific subset.
Seventeen people, including eight children, were among those who died when the fire broke out at the high-rise apartment building in Fordham Heights.
More than 40 additional people were injured in the fire, some of whom were considered to have life-threatening injuries, according to Adams and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
Nigro said many of the people who were injured suffered from smoke inhalation.
Authorities said the blaze stemmed from a malfunctioning space heater in an apartment bedroom, and the door to the apartment where the flames broke out was left open.