6 Things to Know: Charities Providing Housing Assistance to Collapse Survivors

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It’s Thursday, July 29th – and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.

No. 1 – Broward County Public Schools students will be wearing masks when school starts in August.

Wednesday, the school board discussed the issue all afternoon before voting unanimously to make masks mandatory for students and faculty. Board members also cited the recent COVID-19 surge, fueled by the Delta variant in the unvaccinated community as factors which they say forced their hand. Miami-Dade County Public Schools had already decided to make masks optional, but that decision came when positivity rates were low and hospitals had very few COVID patients. 

No. 2 – Masks are now required indoors at Miami-Dade County facilities for everyone regardless of their vaccination status, officials said Wednesday amid the surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county.

The requirement takes effect immediately, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a news conference, despite a state law limiting local pandemic mandates. Levine Cava also addressed the “enormous, alarming” rise of COVID-19 infections and urged everyone to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida is leading the nation in new COVID-19 infections, and Miami-Dade County is leading in the state.

No. 3 – Beginning Friday, Walt Disney World in Orlando will require face coverings for all guests ages two and up while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status.

The requirement includes while entering the park and throughout all attractions. Face coverings remain optional for all guests in outdoor common areas. Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, per Disney’s existing rules. Disney recommends that all face coverings be made with at least two layers of breathable material, fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin, fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face and be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the guest to remain hands-free.

No. 4 – Justin Shapiro is fighting for justice for his clients after they were brutally attacked in their Miami hotel.

Police say it happened July 10th at the Rodeway Inn on NW 167th Street. The husband and wife were visiting from New York. The police report states the suspect, Trayvon Smith, forced his way in. Police say the victim’s wife goes back up to the room after getting towels from downstairs. At one point, the elevator opens and Shapiro says hotel staff get off, see the attack, but don’t help. To see the video some may find disturbing and hear what Shapiro hopes the lawsuit does, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Kim Wynne.

No. 5 – Sharon Schechter escaped the South Florida condominium tower collapse with just the nightclothes she was wearing, so she cried shortly after when the Global Empowerment Mission gave her an electric toothbrush, a phone charger and a $500 gift card to buy essentials.

Now GEM, other charities and businesses announced Wednesday that they will be paying the first and last months’ rent and security deposit at new apartments for Schechter and about 30 other individuals and families displaced by the June 24 tragedy in Surfside that killed 98. GEM and its partners believe they will soon have the funds to pay the Champlain South survivors’ rents for a year — that could run up to $50,000 each in South Florida’s inflated real estate market. GEM, a Florida-based charity that responds to disasters around the world, has raised $372,000 with its partners and distributed donated goods. It had already secured free temporary housing for the survivors and eventually gave each family $4,000 to help with expenses.

No. 6 – Caeleb Dressel secured a gold medal as the U.S. swim team earned five more medals on Wednesday night.

This win was a sweet one for Dressel as it was his first-time medaling in an individual Olympic swimming event. The 24-year-old was a favorite heading into the event after having won the men’s 100m freestyle at the last two world championships. With an Olympic record time of 47.02, Dressel finished just ahead of Australia’s Kyle Chalmers (47.08), who won the silver, and third place Kliment Kolesnikov (47.44) of the Russian Olympic Committee. An emotional Dressel cried during the post-race interview: “I don’t know if it’s set in yet. Right now, I’m just kind of hurting. It’s a really tough year, it’s really hard, so to have the results show up, it really came together, so I’m happy.”

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