(CHARLOTTE, N.C. – July 31, 2017) – Two weeks after a fire displaced 130 people from their homes at Woodscape Apartments in east Charlotte, the Red Cross shelter many stayed at has closed.
At its peak, 79 people stayed at the shelter. Monday morning, the last remaining shelter residents said goodbye. Some residents are returning to Woodscape Apartments, while others found new homes.
“This was an unusual shelter operation for the Red Cross,” said Angela A. Broome Powley, regional executive officer, American Red Cross Western North Carolina Region. “While home fires are the most common disaster the Red Cross responds to, they rarely make the news. They also rarely require a shelter and when they do, the shelter is usually open a few days at the most.”
The Red Cross role in such situations is to provide assistance to meet the immediate needs of those displaced. Red Cross disaster trained volunteers most often meet residents on the fire scene, as they did at Woodscape Apartments in the early morning of July 17. In this response, additional trained volunteers opened a shelter so these families had a safe place to go. Meanwhile, additional volunteers prepared meals, met with individuals to review any medical needs, replaced medicine, provided mental health support, and assisted them in starting their overall recovery plans.
“Every family had its own issues and unique challenges, from transportation to work, to childcare and needs of the children, to language barriers, to financial challenges in finding a new home and more” said Broome Powley. “It is only through the generosity of our donors, and the collaboration of partner agencies and other groups that together we have been able to really move the needle for these families. This includes Crisis Assistance Ministry, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, New Hope Baptist Church, United Central Methodist Church, Charlotte Clergy for Justice, and all who provided translations.”
Last week, Red Cross and Crisis Assistance Ministry caseworkers worked alongside each other to start the process of transitioning these families from fire victims to families in recovery. As of Monday, Crisis Assistance Ministry is taking the lead in longer term recovery.
BY THE NUMBERS:
131 people served
574 shelter overnight stays
Nearly 2,600 meals served
More than 1,800 snacks served
120 comfort kits distributed
137 volunteers, including 51 spontaneous volunteers
TO SUPPORT RED CROSS DISASTER RELIEF:
Anyone wishing to support the Red Cross Disaster Relief Operations may do so at redcross.org/nc, by calling 800-RED-CROSS or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make an immediate $10 donation.
To volunteer now and be trained before another disaster impacts our community, visit redcross.org/volunteer to begin the application process.
TO DONATE BLOOD:
To help the Red Cross by donating blood, please visit redcrossblood.org to find a convenient collection location or blood drive.
TO MAKE YOUR HOME SAFER:
While the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, one every 8 minutes, most of them are home fires. Home fires can happen quickly and claim lives and property. Families can keep themselves and their loved ones safer by checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home. For more information about home fire preparedness, visit www.redcross.org/NC.