ROGERS PARK — Nearly $20,000 has been raised by neighbors in the two months since a possible arson fire spread through a Rogers Park apartment building, leaving 35 people without a home.
Now, $19,710 (or $563 a person) is headed to seven families whose apartments were left uninhabitable by the Jan. 11 fire at Estes and Paulina avenues, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) told residents in an email.
Community members, along with the Rogers Park Builders Group, Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, Northside Community Resources, RefugeeOne, and Moore's office, had initially set a goal of $16,000 to help families pay for new apartments.
Moore thanked contributors, and said Northside Community Resources especially had put in "untold hours" assisting with case management of families, many of whom were refugees to the United States — something the organization did for free.
Since the early morning fire, Rogers Park residents have rallied around those affected — offering up donations, clothes and anything else to help.
One family of Syrian refugees was about to celebrate their one-year anniversary in America when they lost everything in the fire, though with the help of a GoFundMe page, was able to get the resources they needed to start over once again.
No residents were injured in the fire, save for a handful of firefighters who were hurt by slipping on icy surfaces, and in one case a crumbling staircase.
Officials have said they "strongly believe" the fire is arson and was being investigated as a criminal matter, but have not released additional details since.
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