It has been almost 2 weeks since the fire at 200 Wellesley here in Toronto. Many of the residents of residents have been able to return home yet many have not. Many remain with family and friends or in alternative housing. The needs will remain great for these residents. Most of the units have fans and dehumidifiers which are in place to battle the potential for mold. There is still much work to be done inside the building to really even bring it back up to pre-fire conditions ( and that means the bed bug and mice problem remain as well).
Donations have poured in for the residents. When I visited The 519 last week I was moved to tears as I saw large rooms with wall to wall donations of clothes, shoes, and school supplies. Thank you for opening your hearts and your closets! The 519 closed last night and will no longer be donation central for the residents. A new donations location has opened at 257 Jarvis. If you have not donated yet there is still a need. Right now the need remains for gift cards, but more importantly furniture.
The residents of 3 floors will most likely have to replace everything. Can you imagine having no insurance and a fire breaking out next door? I have been there. Much of what I had was no longer usable because of the water and smoke damage. The residents of the North Tower on the 23,24, and 25th floors will not be going home for a while. A time line has not been given.
The residents who have gone home have received a free laundry card from Toronto community housing, cleaning supplies, and grocery cards are being delivered as well. The Office of Partnership ( the city’s charity arm) is working with Toronto Community housing to make sure donations are being given out in ways that ensure all residents are treated fairly and equitably. Now some residents will need more support than others especially those hardest hit.
Fundraisers have been happening and I know of at least one other one planned. The one I helped organise last week was a success and again I want to say Thank you to those who came and gave. It was great to hear the stories and have a chance to help.
In the last 2 weeks I have met and worked alongside so many great and wonderful Torontonians, we met because of a horrid event but I hope I meet each of you again under much better cirumstances.Thanks for showing how much you care about your community.