- Title: Once displaced by 9/11, Florida man offers Surfside victims a place to stay
- Date: 1st July 2021
- Summary: SUNNY ISLES, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (JULY 1, 2021) (REUTERS) APARTMENT BUILDING EXTERIOR POOL ON ROOFTOP VARIOUS OF SEXTANT CEO ANDREAS KING-GEOVANIS TALKING ON PHONE ON ROOFTOP (SOUNDBITE) (English) SEXTANT CEO ANDREAS KING-GEOVANIS SAYING: "I went through a similar experience in 9/11. My family had moved back to Manhattan just five blocks away from World Trade Center and we were in our new apartment for less than a week when that happened. We couldn't go back for about a month so I was on friends' sofas, hotel rooms. It was a very disjointed way to live. So it was partially personal and the second part was just having access to resources, people, furniture, a property that was vacant. We felt morally obligated that we had to act." KING-GEOVANIS IN LIVING ROOM OF VACANT APARTMENT KING-GEOVANIS ON BALCONY (SOUNDBITE) (English) SEXTANT CEO ANDREAS KING-GEOVANIS SAYING: "A lot of people, particularly survivors, they just don't have anywhere to go. They need to first get in touch with a realtor. They need to save up three months of rent and to make insurance claims. So we're really giving people a month to help find their footing and we'll kind of take it from there." KING-GEOVANIS WALKING INTO BEDROOM VARIOUS OF STOCKED BATHROOM KING-GEOVANIS IN KITCHEN FILLED WITH DONATED ITEMS (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAGGIE RAMSEY, DAUGHTER OF 80-YEAR-OLD CHAMPLAIN TOWER SOUTH RESIDENT MAGALY DELGADO WHO IS MISSING IN COLLAPSE AND WHO IS STAYING AT ANDREAS KING-GEOVANIS' PROPERTY, SAYING: "My mother was in the building in Champlain Towers. She lived there. She lived alone and so the moment we found out, we got over here. We live about an hour and a half with no traffic in South Florida, it's not easy, away; two to three hours away with traffic. We were going back and forth every day - obviously for the briefings to know what's going on so we could be close when God willing when they do find her, whether it's her alive or her body, They come and tell you personally and I want to be close to here for the briefings every day and everything else. So we're blessed to find Sexton that provided this place for us to stay for the time being." VARIOUS OF ANONYMOUSLY DONATED SUPPLIES IN BOXES AND TUBS KING-GEOVANIS WALKING TO HIS DESK AND PULLING SOMETHING OUT (SOUNDBITE) (English) SEXTANT CEO ANDREAS KING-GEOVANIS SAYING: "I really didn't think that an occupied building would collapse, maybe something that's been abandoned or derelict. But then I saw the photos, and the furniture on the (collapsed) balcony, and I saw the bunk beds on the top floor and that's when, that's when I knew that it was going to be a tragedy." KING-GEOVANIS TALKING ON PHONE ON ROOF KING-GEOVANIS WALKING FROM KITCHEN TO LIVING ROOM AND EXPLAINING LAST-MINUTE PREPARATIONS BED (SOUNDBITE) (English) SEXTANT CEO ANDREAS KING-GEOVANIS SAYING: "Their, their son shares the same first name so. And it's a pretty unique name." VIEW FROM TOP OF BUILDING
- Embargoed: 15th July 2021 22:39
- Keywords: Andreas King-Geovanis Champlain Towers Miami building collapse Sextant free housing victims
- Location: SUNNY ISLES BEACH FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- City: SUNNY ISLES BEACH FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EK0GKLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:When Florida-based vacation rental property company founder Andreas King-Geovanis heard that a condominium building had collapsed, he knew from experience that disaster would lead to displacement.
The 31-year-old New York native was living with his family in a high-rise near the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
"My family had moved back to Manhattan just five blocks away from World Trade Center and we were in our new apartment for less than a week when that happened. We couldn't go back for about a month so I was on friends' sofas, hotel rooms. It was a very disjointed way to live," he said.
In the aftermath of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse, King-Geovanis called his 165 staff members to a meeting to announce that Sextant Stays would offer a month of rent-free housing to survivors and their families. They need to first get in touch with a realtor. They need to save up three months of rent and to make insurance claims," he said, referring to the first and last month's rent and a security deposit equal to another month's rent that tenants typically need to secure an apartment in the area. According to the U.S. Census, median monthly rent in Miami-Dade County averaged $1,328 between 2015 and 2019.
"We're really giving people a month to help find their footing," King-Geovanis said.
He put out word of his offer on social media and rallied his team to prepare units in a building that was due to open in August. Fifteen families who lived in or had relatives in Champlain Towers South now occupy 17 apartments in a Sextant building about 5 miles from the disaster site. Sextant has about 250 units in Miami.
King-Geovanis and his team outfitted two- and three-bedroom apartments with beds, Wi-Fi hotspots and artwork within 48-hours. More than a dozen individuals and other companies donated food and toiletries.
Among the people who took advantage of the offer was Maggie Ramsey, a Jupiter-based marketing executive whose 80-year-old mother Magaly Delgado lived in the collapsed building.
Ramsey said her mother was going to visit Napa Valley in California with her grandsons, Matthew and Christopher, later this year.
"'Get up, work hard and don't forget to go to church,'" was what her mother always told them, she said.
Ramsey and her husband had been shuttling between their Sextant apartment and daily briefings, hoping against hope for good news. But late on Thursday, the Ramsey family said Delgado's remains had been found in the rubble.
King-Geovanis said the collapse had been hard to get his head around.
"I really didn't think that an occupied building would collapse, maybe something that's been abandoned or derelict," he said. "But when I saw the photos of furniture on the collapsed balcony, and kids' bunk beds atop what was the roof, I knew we were facing a tragedy."
He shed a tear as he described learning one of the victims shares his first name. Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21, of Houston was among six victims found Wednesday, among 18 confirmed dead. Another 145 people are missing.
(Production: Julio Cesar-Chavez, Arlene Eiras)
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