Local organizations teaming up to help residents displaced by fatal fire
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) —
Local organizations are trying to help the Providence residents who were displaced by a fatal fire on Bowdoin Street January 6, 2017, that affected several homes.
One week after the fire, nonprofit One Neighborhood Builders held an open house at its location on Chaffee Street, which is not far from the fire scene.
Cecil Vega lives at 108 Bowdoin, next door to 110 the house which collapsed on itself and where resident Lucy Feliciano was later found deceased.
Vega says the flames were right outside her window.
"I ran to my room to grab my coat and when I grabbed my phone to get out of my room, my whole window exploded," said Vega who escaped her home with her children.
She’s now staying with a friend until she can find a permanent place to live.
"We have everything put in bins so the living room is getting overcrowded, but I'm grateful for everybody that's been reaching out, helping out," said Vega.
She and others were offered items that have been donated to One Neighborhood Builders.
"Folks brought in toiletries, and shoes and all sorts of things, we'll be giving those away today," said executive director Jennifer Hawkins.
The open house was attended by Providence city councilors who represent the area as well as a representative from United Way, among others.
In addition to meeting immediate needs, One Neighborhood Builders also encouraged displaced residents to put their names on a waiting list for new, affordable housing, something Hawkins says is in great demand right now.
"There's lots of families in need day all the time and how do we kind of consistently help people who need affordable housing, who need safe housing," she said.
Residents who need ongoing help were also encouraged to call United Way’s helpline 2-1-1.
"At the end of the day all that matters is my kids and I are alive," said Vega.