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Sunday, October 2, 2022
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Highland Hills Explosion Victims Can Access Relief Resources

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In a press release, it is stated that Mayor Eric Johnson has come together with various organizations and the Office of Emergency Management to create a relief plan for the tenants of Highland Hills Apartments.

As previously reported by the Dallas Express, an explosion that occurred on Wednesday, Sept. 29, caused significant damage to the buildings and left many residents displaced from their homes. The relief plan aims to help the 250 or more tenants who were moved out of their apartments due to the explosion.

There is a large team involved with the efforts to help the individuals who have been affected by this situation. The City of Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management, Dallas Public Library, Office of the Mayor, and the City Council are working with non-profit organizations in the area, including Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters.

Together, they have formed a Multi-Agency Resource Center and will help guide tenants to resources. The center will be at J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, located at 1515 Young Street in Dallas, October 6th from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.

In the press release, Councilman Tennell Atkins states, “While District 8 residents of the Highland Hills Apartments are staying in downtown Dallas hotels, this Multi-Agency Resource Center will allow them to address their unmet needs as One Dallas,” and continued with, “from considering lease termination options to replacing lost documents, our partners are available together in one place to help tenants displaced from Highland Hills Apartments prepare to return home.”

As reported by the Dallas Express, a report of a possible gas leak came in around 10:20 in the morning on Wednesday, Sept. 29. Close to 300 individuals had to leave their homes at the Highland Hills Apartments. While investigating the gas leak, the explosion occurred, resulting in eight injured, including four firefighters.

WFFA stated that among the tenants who had to remove themselves from their home were Chante Nakapaahu and her two children. She stated that “she’s having panic attacks after living through the trauma.”

Nakapaahu’s children were at school at the time of the explosion and therefore did not have to witness the trauma she went through. “I just feel completely knocked all the way down,” she said. “I’m doing the best that I can.”

The press release states that the responsibility of housing the tenants falls on the owners of Highland Hills Apartments. Going above and beyond, the City of Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management has helped the apartments’ owners ensure tenants had a place to stay within the hotels downtown.

Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters is one of the non-profit organizations helping the tenants to find resources. According to their website, they are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, where the individuals involved within the organization are considered members. This group has more than fifty members of volunteer organizations that help communities in the event of a disaster. Together, they conquer “the 4 C’s: Cooperation, Communication, Coordination, and Collaboration.”

Matthew Randazzo is the President and CEO of The Dallas Foundation. On the website, he states, “The Dallas Foundation has bridged donors to their philanthropic goals for nearly a century. Today, we remain a driving force in Dallas, squarely focused on educating and activating our donors, deeply engaged with our partners to invest in meaningful change for this community, and relentlessly optimistic about the well-being of our next generation.”

The Dallas Foundation began in 1929, and it was the first community foundation for the state of Texas. Their website mentions that the foundation gives people a way to spread their kindness to the causes they care about, which ultimately will improve lives and make a great difference throughout North Texas. “We have been, and will always be, Here For Good” is displayed on the foundation’s website.

If you would like to donate to the tenants of the Highland Hills Apartments, visit The Dallas Foundation. When filling out the form under “Fund Information,” click the drop-down arrow that says “please apply my gift to,” and click on City of Dallas Emergency Assistance Fund.

Non-profit organizations that want to extend a helping hand can email oemdepartment@dallascityhall.com. Within the email, make sure to leave contact information and what type of resources the organization you represent can provide to the tenants of Highland Hills Apartments.

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

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