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Plan in place to give fundraiser money to McHenry fire victims

Published: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 12:07 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 11:42 p.m. CDT
(Sarah Nader -
Cordero Johnson, 26, of McHenry takes a phone call Tuesday in his room at a Woodstock motel. Johnson was one of the 33 displaced residents from the Riverside Hotel fire in McHenry on January 12.

McHENRY – A plan is in place to distribute money to displaced McHenry fire victims from a fundraiser that took place nearly three weeks ago.

Leaders from the Polish Legion of American Veterans’ ladies auxiliary and Corkscrew Pointe, who were both in charge of the Jan. 26 fundraiser that raised more than $4,000, will give the donations to McHenry Township, which will then distribute the funds to the victims on a case-by-case basis.

The funds will be transferred to the township and will be ready to distribute in about a week, according to McHenry Township Supervisor Donna Schaefer.

There is approximately $138 available per apartment unit, Schaefer said, which can be given in the form of gas gift cards, vouchers for public transit, gift cards for clothing or household items, or additional housing assistance.

The fire victims are currently being sheltered in a Woodstock motel that is paid for by the McHenry County Housing Authority. In three weeks the housing authority’s emergency fund will run out of money, causing residents to find other living arrangements if the apartment building has yet to be repaired.

On Jan. 12, the Riverside Hotel, a three-story, 40-unit apartment building, was declared uninhabitable after a fire started in the bedroom of one of the apartments. More than 30 residents were displaced, 28 of which are being sheltered in Woodstock by the housing authority.

Some residents have complained that the location of the motel, combined with not having access to transportation, has made it difficult to get to work.

If the fire victims are in need of gas, food or other items before the fundraiser money is available, they can apply for the McHenry Township Emergency Assistance Program or Salvation Army assistance, Schaefer said.

Township assistance of $250 per person and $400 per family is available for those in need of housing. The Salvation Army can typically provide $100 to $150 per household, Schaefer said.

Pat Diehl of the Polish Legion of American Veterans’ ladies auxiliary said the fundraiser account, set up at the Charter One bank in McHenry, remains open to those who wish to donate to the fire victims.

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