Agencies, service providers meet with Kerr Apt. residents
By Bill Macpherson, EOC public information officer
What comes next for the over 100 people disposed and homeless in the wake of the Kerr Apartment building fire was tackled on Friday night.
A meeting of government agencies, service providers and the residents of the fire-damaged Kerr Apartment block took place Friday night at the Salvation Army building on Vernon Street.
The purpose of the meeting was to explain next steps following the end of extended ESS assistance on Monday, said Emergency Operations Centre director Joe Chirico, and to work towards longer-term recovery through open communication and information sharing.
The Salvation Army and the Red Cross – among others – will be working with the EOC in the days and weeks ahead to find shelter and assess the needs for all the Kerr Apartment residents.
Generous donations, fundraisers and continuing monetary contributions are helping but the extremely low vacancy rate in Nelson presents a major challenge for the displaced residents and service providers.
Efforts continue to find suitable accommodation for all those impacted by the fire, said Chirico.
“These people have been through an incredibly traumatic experience,” said Chirico. “We want them to know their well being in the days ahead is very important, and that every effort is being made to meet individual needs following this devastating event.
“The support of the community is indicative of the extent this fire has impacted all of us – and that support continues to be amazing.”
Representatives from the Salvation Army, the Canadian Red Cross, Interior Health, Emergency Social Services (ESS), the City of Nelson, Stepping Stones, Nelson Community Services, Selkirk College and the Kootenay Christian Fellowship met with approximately 75 residents who were negatively impacted by the fire that destroyed the historic apartment block early on Jan. 6.