This weekend, fifty-five residents – over half of whom are children – watched in horror as a massive fire tore through the Brick Haven Apartment Complex in north Spokane and destroyed everything they owned in a matter of minutes.
In response, the Inland Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross mobilized. A temporary shelter was opened and all of the displaced families have turned to us for emergency assistance for necessities such as food, clothing, and prescription medicines. Over the coming days, we will continue to work quickly to get every family on the road to recovery. In the past few days:
-Forty-one people checked in at the Red Cross shelter on Saturday afternoon.
-Twenty-two clients stayed at the shelter overnight on Saturday. Sixteen stayed overnight on Sunday. Residents who did not stay at the shelter stayed with family/friends or made other arrangements.
-We will keep the shelter open until all of the residents have a long-term housing plan. We are working with our partner organizations like the Spokane Catholic Charities and the Spokane Housing Authority to identify available resources and share this information with our residents.
-Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all being provided at the shelter.
-All of the residents have had at least an initial contact with a caseworker to go over available Red Cross assistance. Follow-up casework is continuing.
-So far, about 20 Red Cross staff and volunteers have assisted with this disaster response and we expect that more of our people will be involved as we continue relief efforts.
This is one of the largest local disaster responses that we have had in recent memory – both in terms of number of people impacted and level of assistance they will need from us. We project that the direct financial assistance that we are providing to these disaster victims (including sheltering, feeding, financial support to replace lost household items, medications, etc.) will reach $25,000.
Since the start of 2014, our local Red Cross has responded to 60 different disasters and provided aid to over 200 of our neighbors. We provide more than just quick fixes. We’ll be there for weeks and months to come, supporting these and other local families with a steady hand to help them recover from disasters.
The community can support local disaster victims like these by making a financial donation to the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/donate, or at 315 W. Nora Ave, Spokane 99205 (regular office hours Monday-Thursday 8:30-4:30 ). The Red Cross does not accept donations of clothing or household items, but we do work closely with partners like the Salvation Army and Spokane Furniture Bank who are equipped to handle donations of this nature to help our clients get access to these types of items.
If you are a disaster victim in need of emergency assistance, please call (509) 326-3330 x229.