On Sunday, First Lady Chirlane McCray, chair of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, announced the launch of a fundraising drive that will support victims of the East Harlem explosion and building collapse that killed eight people and injured more than 70 on March 12.
"While the primary objective of the Mayor's Fund is to support large-scale projects that address persistent problems, when disaster strikes, we will never hesitate to use the flexibility of the Fund to provide our neighbors with crucial assistance," McCray announced at Bethel Gospel Assembly alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Real Estate Board of New York, Con Edison, the Association for a Better New York and its founder, the Rudin family, and the families and board members of the East Harlem Tutorial Program have already donated $250,000 to the drive, according to the press release from the Office of the Mayor.
Safe Horizon, a victim services agency that supports children, adults and families affected by crime and abuse in New York City, will be in charge of the victims' assistance fund to cover the costs of rent, funeral arrangements and household expenses as well as case management and counseling services.
The Union Settlement Association, a settlement house that provides East Harlem residents with a variety of education, wellness and community-building programs, and the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, a nonprofit organization that addresses family health in East Harlem, will spearhead the community outreach effort geared toward immigrant communities.
Supply usually outstrips demand for Union Settlement's mental health counseling services, so the organization is prioritizing the victims and their families, said David Nocenti, Union Settlement's executive director.
"We're usually oversubscribed and so we're going to be giving priority for these families and making sure they can get in and get the counseling," Nocenti said.
The American Red Cross will continue to support victims of the explosion at The New York City Resident Service Center on 1580 Park Ave.