More than 130 residents of the Terrace Tower apartments in East Cleveland took refuge in an American Red Cross shelter for six nights, after fire forced them to flee on Monday, July 3rd. They spent the first two nights at the Salvation Army East Cleveland Corps Community Center. The shelter was then transferred to a dormitory at Case Western Reserve University. The shelter closed on Sunday, July 9.
It was the largest sheltering operation in Northern Ohio since 2004.
“We made a lot of friends,” said Tom Revolinsky, Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. “A lot of the residents were understandably upset when they were forced out of their homes on the night before the fourth of July, but by the time they left the shelter on Sunday, we were getting lots of hugs.”
During the six nights of shelter operations, the Red Cross provided:
• 525 overnight shelter stays
• 2,023 meals
• 304 health services
• 256 comfort kits (personal hygiene items)
• 125 blankets
• Continuous emotional support
Officials with RHM Real Estate Group, the Terrace Towers property management firm, is providing alternative housing options for the residents while repairs to the apartment complex are being made.
“We’re grateful to Terrace Towers property management for working so diligently this week to find alternative lodging for their residents,” said Emily Probst, Regional Disaster Officer for the Red Cross of Northern Ohio. “And we thank the Salvation Army for providing space for the first two nights, and Case Western Reserve University for opening one of their dormitories to these residents.”
Emmanuel Grant, one of the residents of Terrace Towers who took refuge at the Red Cross shelter, said, “One thing I appreciate about the Red Cross; they follow scripture when it said to extend hospitality, caring for your neighbor. So these things have really been a blessing.”
“My experience, believe it or not, has been wonderful,” said shelter resident Alfreda Scott. “It’s just been like a nice community, and everyone’s been hugging and supporting each other, and it’s been wonderful.”
She said once her housing situation stabilizes, she plans to become a Red Cross volunteer.
“I made some new friends.”
The Red Cross received assistance from several organizations, including the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management, and several businesses stepped-up to provide meals, including Bon Appetit, Case Western Reserve University’s food service provider.
“No one organization can carry out such a challenging task alone, and we’re thankful for all the help the residents received,” said Probst. “We’re also indebted to our dedicated volunteer workforce. We could not have provided such valuable assistance without them.”
To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteer.