We opened our doors to 90 displaced residents of Dwayne’s Home, a transitional housing complex that caught fire shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday. The fire ripped through a third floor suite of the downtown building causing approximately $400,000 worth of damages and leaving the formerly homeless residents out in the cold.
After quick coordination by the Red Cross, residents were transported to Bissell Centre by designated ETS buses where staff and volunteers were able to meet their immediate needs: food, amenities, and refuge from the cold. Furthermore, Bissell Centre served as an operational hub for the Red Cross, Alberta Health Services, EPS, the City of Edmonton, and other service agencies as they formulated a crisis resolution plan.
83 of the 90 residents we’re eventually transferred to other organizations that could provide overnight shelter and care. Seven women remained with us through the night and were fed a hearty breakfast–thanks to kitchen staff–before being shuttled to other accommodations Thursday morning.
Fortunately, most of the residents will return to their homes today as all but fifteen suites have been deemed safe and free from damages. This is unexpected good news as it was initially estimated that the residents would not be let back into their homes for at least a week.
We are equally happy and honored to have been able to provide support during this devastating incident. The residents of Dwayne’s Home are people that we care deeply about; people that we admire; people who have endured the many hardships of homelessness, risen above their struggles and are now off the streets and in homes. Given the complexities and grip of homelessness, it is a truly remarkable feat. We wish them well.
Hope Mission, Salvation Army, and the Shaw Conference Centre are amongst the many groups who generously offered their services and support.
Donations of towels, unopened toiletries, new socks and underwear, clean men’s clothing, and clean winter coats, gloves, hats and boots can be dropped off at The Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society. Call (780) 428-4422 for more information.