NEW BRITAIN - City help is being given to 14 families that were displaced by the 180 Allen St. fire that forced residents to leave all three floors of their building to escape the blaze.
The City’ Community Services Department is assisting the people, who are either staying with family members or at a hotel, according to Mayor Erin Stewart’s office.
The assistance comes after the American Red Cross responded to the scene Friday evening to provide assistance to 20 families, comprised of 34 adults and 18 children.
Funding was provided for their immediate needs, including lodging, comfort kits, blankets, stuffed animals and other resources, the office said. The Red Cross will pay for three days of hotel stay when a family is displaced, said David Huck, public affairs specialist to the mayor.
The city has been in contact with the owner of the apartment complex, known as Springwood Garden apartments, who will be sending the security deposits and May rent of each 180 Allen St. tenant, the mayor’s office said.
The company that manages the Allen Street apartments has vacancies at properties in West Hartford and Meriden and displaced tenants can inquire about relocating there, the mayor’s office added. Tenants were allowed to go back into the building for two hours Monday afternoon to collect any personal belongings.
When a family is displaced by a fire, the city helps them find temporary housing and gives them vouchers if they are eligible. The displaced people are also referred to any other local or state agencies or departments that can help.
Over the weekend, the North-Oak NRZ collected items including clothing, toiletries and toys. Those items are being stored at St. James Church on Daly Avenue with the hope distributing them to the families on Wednesday.
When more permanent housing is found for the families, the NRZ will look to collect furniture for them, Pablo Rodriguez, president of the NRZ, said.
Anyone who wishes to donate items can still do so by dropping them off at House of Pizza, 952 Stanley St., Rodriguez said. An online fundraiser is also available via a page called the “Allen Street Family Relief Fund,” which is posted on the North-Oak NRZ Facebook page. All proceeds will be going to the residents and is expected to be distributed to the families, through the city, based on need, when the fundraising is over, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, over the weekend, said 25 families were displaced by the fire. It is not clear what the families not receiving city help are doing for housing, but they are not required to seek assistance from the city.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated by the fire marshal’s office, the police department and the fire and explosion investigation unit, a division of the state police.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.