Councilmember John Lee, together with community organizations and leaders, hosted a meeting for families displaced by the recent apartment fire in Northridge to offer much-needed hope and help during this unimaginably difficult time.
“Since the night of the tragic fire, my staff and I, the Red Cross, LAPD Devonshire PALS, LAPD Devonshire Division, Park Parthenia Apartments, Napa Elementary, the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, and the Los Angeles Housing+Community Investment Department have been working tirelessly to identify resources, both immediate and long-term, to help these families get back on their feet,” said Councilmember Lee.
Councilmember Lee also announced a significant financial commitment from Greg and Jodi Perlman, founders of the nonprofit organization The Change Reaction, toward a fund to provide financial assistance to the victims of the fire.
“The Change Reaction’s commitment to match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000, doubles the impact of our community’s giving.” said Lee. “This financial assistance is just one of many pieces that have quickly come together thanks to the efforts of so many of our community partners.”
“Responding to disasters is a team effort, and the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region is grateful for the support of partners such as Councilmember John Lee in working to address the recovery needs of community members,” said Barbara Mariscal, Disaster Program Manager. “The Red Cross responds to an average of two emergencies per day, the majority of which are home fires. We strive to provide families, who have lost everything, with the support they need.”
Residents who came to PALS today met with each of the community partners present to assess their family’s specific needs, get connected to assistance, and enable service providers to identify any gaps in needed services. Families also received $300 grocery gift cards from the CD12 Helping Hands program, and picked up much needed essentials made possible by a community donation drive spearheaded by Napa Elementary Principal Luis Alvarado.
“It’s truly humbling to see how people from all walks of life who are complete strangers to those impacted by this recent apartment fire, can show so much love and support in times like these, especially when many of those donating are probably struggling economically due to our current situation,” said Alvarado.
The need for housing is the most urgent for these displaced families and the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission and Park Parthenia Apartments are working to quickly identify housing and sheltering options for as many families as possible.
“Once again I’m so grateful to serve a community that rallies around those who need a helping hand,” said Daniel Mastrolonardo, Director of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission. “These families lost so much in the fire, but together we’re going to help them rebuild.”
HCID representatives were also on hand at PALS to meet with families, explain their rights, and help them navigate next steps with their current landlord.
"HCIDLA feels for the families who have been displaced as the result of the fire,” said HCID General Manager Ann Sewill. “Our department is working with the Red Cross, other city agencies, the building owners, and neighborhood organizations to help the residents displaced by the fire."
Throughout this ordeal, LAPD Devonshire PALS staff and LAPD Devonshire Division officers have been a visible and constant source of support for the affected families, many of whom participate in PALS programs at the youth center across the street from the burned complex. Many of the Devonshire police officers have deep connections to the community and know the impacted families personally because of their involvement as coaches, counselors, and tutors to their kids through PALS.
“If there is one thing that I hope the families get out of today,” said Lee, “It is the knowledge and reassurance that they are not alone in this,” said Lee.
Monetary donations to the matching fund to support the families impacted by the fire can be made by texting PartheniaRelief to 24365. Contributions for the match will be accepted through July 31, 2020.