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Community Helping Those Displaced After 26th Street Collapse

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Multiple families are still displaced after a major street collapse in Charles Village. Now the community comes together to help those not allowed back inside their homes.

Rochelle Ritchie has details on the community effort.

Members of the Old Goucher Community Association are coming together to raise funds to help those displaced family members. In the meantime, the city is promising to get them back in their homes as soon as possible.

Construction workers remain hard at work as they prepare to build a wall to help stabilize 26th Street after a major street collapse sent cars, the sidewalk and a retaining wall crashing onto the CSX tracks.

"We have built a temporary berm at the bottom of the slope to add additional stability," officials said.

The street collapse that's drawn national attention has kicked more than a dozen families out of their homes.

"You could see it breaking, and it finally broke," said Mark Truelove, whose mother was displaced.

As CSX and the city work together to resolve the issue, members of the Old Goucher Community Association have joined forces to help raise money for families in their time of need.

"One of the issues is that, for plenty of people, it was easy to rebound--they could go somewhere else, stay with family, get a hotel somewhere easily--but there were families on that block who were struggling financially, and we wanted to try to help them any way we could," said Kely Cross, community organizer.

One of those to benefit is Truelove's mother.

"It's just being in the right place and figuring out what it is we need. So this is a great start," Truelove said.

In a closed meeting Sunday with homeowners, the mayor and CSX officials, the city promised to move as efficiently and quickly as possible to get people back in their homes.

People who have been displaced say they have been complaining about the road condition for a number of years and the city did nothing about it. The mayor says, in 2013, they did send cameras down into some of the pipes to see if there was any sort of shifting, and they found nothing.

"We know what has happened between that time and this on top of the ground. We know that we've had a ridiculously relentless winter, we know that we've had hurricane level rains. And we want to know--did that have an impact?" Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.

It could be more than a month before residents move back in. When asked if there is concern about the stability of the homes, some said no.

"Those houses are built on some solid stuff," said Truelove.

The city is paying the hotel fees for families who have been displaced.

The Charles Village Civic Association (CVCA) has started a fund called "It Takes The Village" to collect tax deductible donations for the benefit of residents displaced by the wall cave-in in the unit block of E 26th Street. Checks should be made payable to "It Takes The Village Fund" with "GHCC" on the memo line and mail or deliver the check to CVCA President, Sandy Sparks, at 2942 Guilford Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21218.

You can also donate to the CVCA "It Takes The Village" Fund by dining at Sweet Sin Restaurant at 123 W. 27th Street (Restaurant side with bar just west of Sweet 27 Bakery and Cafe) on Monday-Wednesday, May 5-7 when 30 percent of your food purchase will be donated by the owner to the CVCA "It Takes The Village" Fund.

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