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Cash comes in but furnishings still a need for Kerr residents

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

Over $70,000 has been raised from the community to support the former residents of the Kerr Apartment Building which burned last month, says the chair of the Unmet Needs Committee.

This includes money raised by the Selkirk College Students Union for students living in the Kerr and donations of funds to Our Daily Bread, said Allison Alder.

"Some fundraisers are still taking place and the funds will continue to grow for a while, including funds raised through The Bottle Depot, Craft Connection, Whitewater, local donation jars and possibly more," she said in a press release.

People are asked to contact the Salvation Army to have local donation jars picked up.

Although the money and donated goods are being used to help residents who have sought assistance, the Salvation Army Distribution Centre at the Movie Gallery location has closed (Feb. 15). The items — still free for Kerr residents — now move to the Salvation Army's location on Vernon Street.

Alder also noted that Our Daily Bread is now offering hot lunch during the week, while dinner and breakfast service has ended.

There are some former apartment building residents who have found permanent housing, Alder said there are three residents that remain un-housed at the Villa Motel on the North Shore.

"If they still have not found temporary or permanent accommodation, their only option will be Stepping Stones, the shelter," she said. "It is suspected that there are up to a dozen people couch-surfing for now who may need accommodation in the future."

People can contact Nelson Community Services if they have available housing, said Alder. One more person has come forward to the Red Cross for assessment

Of the 52 residents registered with the Red Cross, 29 are considered completed, 14 are very close to complete, eight are active, and one cannot be reached. There are nine residents who were identified the night of the fire who have not come forth to the Red Cross for an assessment and therefore have received no support, said Alder.

"Some of those ‘completed’ have received help in setting up new homes, replacing gear for work, school, health, glasses, dentures, and food," she said.
Donations of a few refurbished Mac computers have come forth from MacAttack in Nelson.

"Again, people need to identify this as a need, and then they can be referred to the fellow who will custom load the computer for the Kerr resident," said Alder.

Any people from the Kerr fire that still need help are urged to contact Red Cross volunteer June at 250-505-2510.

Other notes

• Furniture is still being sought to furnish new homes with the basics. Not much furniture has been donated thus far.

• People can bring their good quality furniture and appliances to Share Nelson. Advise them that it is a donation for the Kerr fire residents. The residents can access furniture at Share Nelson free of charge — the folks at Share Nelson will keep track of items and residents to ensure that immediate needs are met first, with the option to return to fulfill less essential needs later on.

• New beds are being purchased at a discount for residents through Country Furniture.

• Kidsport has offered to replace all sports equipment for the Kerr children. Parents need to contact June at RC (250-505-2510) with a list of sports equipment lost in the fire.

• Additional items that could be useful can be donated to the Salvation Army, including good quality adult sports equipment.

More help coming

• The Nelson Notaries have agreed to help people with replacing their identification, yet very few requests have come forth. Funds raised are being used to cover any charges arising from ID replacement. Call June at the Red Cross or Yvonne at the Salvation Army can help folks get going on this.

• Help is also available with rent, Hydro hook-ups, damage deposits to help people through this transition.