The American Red Cross continues to help residents in the aftermath of an apartment fire at 223 Elm Street in Holyoke. The Red Cross has set up a temporary shelter at the Holyoke War Memorial Building at 310 Appleton Street where 33 residents (28 adults, 5 children) stayed overnight. In total, the Red Cross is assisting 88 people (72 adults, 16 children) with immediate emergency needs after the fire. The 88 individuals represent 45 separate households.
Several residents have found alternate housing and are receiving Red Cross financial assistance for food, clothing and bedding. Others remain in the shelter working with Red Cross caseworkers to find more permanent housing solutions. On June 16 a light breakfast of coffee and doughnuts was made available to the displaced as well as a full lunch and full dinner. Today, breakfast and lunch have been served and dinner will be made available for displaced residents this evening. Shelter residents who were unable to salvage clothing from the building have received Red Cross financial assistance to purchase clothes.
It is anticipated that at least 25 residents will stay overnight in the shelter this evening.
Red Cross mental health workers have been on site at the shelter in Holyoke, helping residents cope with the shock, fear, frustration and sadness that are often felt after disasters like this one. All mental health workers are licensed mental health professionals across several specialties including: social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, etc.
The Red Cross has partnered with the TJ O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center in Springfield to find safe temporary housing for the pets of the displaced families.
This fire comes at the end of the fiscal year and puts a significant strain on the Red Cross budget. All Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of volunteers. Visit redcross.org/ma to make a donation to disaster relief.