As she shivered outside the remains of her burned house, Jerbrya Hall worried how she and her family would be able to get back on their feet. They lost everything. Faulty electrical engineering in the ceiling sparked, and before they knew it, their house was in flames. Jerbrya wondered things like, Where are we going to stay tonight? What am I going to feed my children? How am I going to make it to work in the morning? The devastation of the disaster quickly overwhelmed her.
Jerbrya’s fears were well founded. After a disaster like a house fire, families like the Halls struggle to get their lives back on track. All too often, their options are chronic homelessness or staying in the city shelter system, a recovery process that separates family members and takes an average of 3-6 months. Red Cross House offers a welcome alternative. At Red Cross House, families stay together and rebuild their lives in just 21 days.
Immediately after the fire, Red Cross volunteers escorted the Hall family to Red Cross House at 40th Street and Powelton Avenue in West Philadelphia. When they arrived, the Halls received a hot meal, clothing, medication replacement, a private bathroom to share, and, most important, a private room with a bed for each family member.
Jerbrya was able to keep her job, and her children continued to go to school and daycare every day. The Halls met frequently with their Red Cross House caseworker, who helped them through the process of finding a new home. The caseworker also helped Jerbrya fill her prescription medications, replace her drivers license, and find new glasses for her son, all of which had been destroyed in the fire.
Throughout the recovery process, the Hall family had Red Cross House community support as well as the privacy they needed to cope with their devastating losses from the fire. Before settling into their new home, the whole family attended fire prevention education classes to help ensure that this tragedy would never happen to them again.
Red Cross House provides shelter to individuals or families in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas who are temporarily or permanently displaced as a direct result of a disaster. Depending on need, we may offer shelter to families in anticipation of a disaster, during an evacuation, or after a disaster occurs. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. Contact: (215) 299-4889