Four months after the fire at Twin Parks North West, a 19-story affordable housing building in the Bronx, residents are still struggling to get on their feet. The blaze, which happened on January 9, was caused by a faulty electric space heater in a third-floor apartment. It killed 17 people, 8 of which were children. It was the deadliest fire New York City has seen in more than 30 years.
As a result, nearly 150 families have been displaced; around 45 of them are currently living in hotels. Some families reject the notion of returning to Twin Parks due to the lingering smell of smoke. Others are still traumatized by the fire. The state of New York contracted a company called CVR Associates a week after it happened to create and hand out housing vouchers for those in need of new homes.
It also partnered with BronxWorks to provide caseworkers and assistance to survivors. However, according to an article by The New York Times, the survivors of the tragedy have yet to receive the money promised by the city. They claimed that the aid they were promised is being distributed slowly—if they receive any at all.
Newly elected mayor Eric Adams declared that the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will make $3 million available to the households impacted by the Twin Parks fire. However, residents received $2,250 per person—and nothing else. Local organizations like The Gambian Youth Organization have donated $5,000 to each family affected by the blaze.
Others, like the Muslim Community Network used a metric of family size to determine their gifts which averaged between $800 to $4,000. The former tenants are still desperately in need. “The lack of affordable housing in the Bronx has frustrated our ability to promptly obtain permanent housing to every tenant in the 19-story high-rise,” Councilman Oswald Feliz told The Times. “However, we will not rest until every tenant is permanently relocated.”