SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - Survivors of the Surfside condo building collapse are desperate for help.
With little to no possessions, those who made it out alive want to know what is next for them now that their homes are gone.
Cellphone video recorded on the balcony of the Champlain Towers South unit 705 showed rescue crews arriving on the scene just minutes after the collapse.
“We’re all shaking going, ‘This building is going to collapse on us, and there’s nothing we can do,'” said survivor Steve Ronsenthal.
Ronsenthal was rescued from that balcony, but days after the collapse, he’s facing a new feeling of helplessness.
“No one has been looking out for us, the people that actually survived and that are alive,” he said.
The 72-year-old is among the survivors facing an uncertain future.
His home of 20 years condemned with his belongings left behind.
“This is the shirt that I wore on the balcony,” Ronsenthal said.
What he has left hangs in the closet of his hotel room where the Red Cross is putting him up for a week.
He said he has no idea what he will do beyond that, but he’s hoping the money raised by several different organizations will help.
“Who’s it going to?” Ronsenthal said. “Who’s got it? Who’s controlling it? All we see is donate, donate, donate, donate. If you go to those links, you don’t see anything on how to access.”
The Supportsurfside.org site has raised almost $2 million.
Organizers with Support Surfside said $40,000 has gone out to around 90 families as of Wednesday night. Thousands more is slated to go out to families in the upcoming days.
The Surfside mayor said anyone looking for financial help should start at the reunification center at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside.
“If they need help, that’s the place to go,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett. “If they don’t get it there, they can call the mayor.”
The mayor said he’s already helped families get immediate assistance.
But people like Rosenthal are looking at the bigger picture, in search of long-term solutions like permanent housing.
He said until the millions of dollars collected are distributed to those in need, their lives are in limbo.
“What we’re saying is we need to know what is going on, not for the next 30 days, for the next couple of years, so we can survive, so we know what to do,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal said just knowing about a distribution plan and a timeline would give him and other survivors some relief.
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