ROGERS PARK — A week after a fire in a Rogers Park apartment building left seven units uninhabitable and nine others damaged, neighborhood organizations are reaching out to the community to help victims get back on their feet.
Derek Anderson, housing director for Northside Community Resources, said his organization is looking for five apartments where families can be placed, three of which have children. Anderson's group and others have also set up a Fire Disaster Relief Fund where people can make a tax-deductible donation to help the families.
Ald. Joe Moore's Chief of Staff Kevin O'Neil said about $10,000 had been raised, but hopes more will come to help victims cover the basic costs of security deposits, January and February rents, "as well to give these folks a great start and lift the burden of finding rent money."
In an email to residents, Moore (49th) said he'd heard of at least one refugee family who'd saved for their February rent in cash "only to see it literally go up in smoke."
Donations will be accepted through Feb. 1, after which Northside will begin to distribute the funds.
In an email to Rogers Park Builders Group members, Anderson compiled breakdown of needs and demographics, as well as what each household can afford.
• A family with two adults and three children are looking for a 3-bedroom, but will settle for a 2-bedroom with a maximum budget of $1,000. They are looking to stay in Rogers Park, as the family's children attend New Field School.
• A family with two adults and three children are looking for a 3-bedroom, with a maximum budget of $1,000. The family is looking to live in Rogers Park, West Ridge, or Edgewater — but would "prefer not on Howard because of kids," Anderson wrote.
• Two adults without children are looking for a cat-friendly 2-bedroom that costs no more than $1,500 a month in the Rogers Park/Edgewater area looking to live in Rogers Park or Edgewater.
• Two adults without children are looking for a 2-bedroom for $800 max near the Red Line on the North Side.
• A single parent and child are looking for 2-bedroom in Rogers Park for no more than $1,000
Three other victims are working with RefugeeOne, including a family that fled war-torn Syria, Demascus and Lebanon only to watch everything they owned burned a year into their escape to the U.S.
Thousands of dollars was raised for that family within hours and they were already able to move into a new apartment.
Northside Community Resources, Ald. Moore's office, American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, RefugeeOne, and the Rogers Park Builders Group are organizing the fundraising effort. Learn more here.