North Shore residents were shocked to learn of a fire on May 31 in the Silverlynn Housing complex. Sadly there was one death. Seniors and people living with disabilities, in 32 subsidized apartments, were left homeless. Most of the victims lost everything in the fire. They were housed at UBC, far from their normal support systems.
In June, July and August, Shelter to Home provided furniture, household goods and linens for 20 of these fire victims. The first call came from Silver Harbour Seniors’ Center requesting complete furnishings for 4 apartments. Our team went into action and found beds and dressers, love seats and easy chairs, but tiny tables with 2 chairs were not offered by our generous donors. The Spirit Singers of Highlands United Church heard of the problem, and in a 10 minute break gathered $600 to buy small IKEA tables. The 4 apartments were furnished in a week.
The next call came from BC Housing, inquiring if Shelter to Home could provide complete bedding for 11 double beds, 22 pillows, 11 sets of towels and 11 sets of dish cloths and towels. When we asked about the time-line, the answer was “tomorrow or the next day”. Two days later we had 11 large bags of linen ready, as well as 22 pillows, some of which were bought with a generous donation of cash.
Throughout July and August we furnished 16 apartments. Each client came and received individual attention from our Client Services team.
There was no budget to move the furnishings from our storage to each client’s new home. Staff at the North Shore Resource Centre worked diligently with our team to find volunteers with trucks to do the moves. As the summer came to an end, it was gratifying to know all the fire victims had been re-housed, many of them in Lynn Valley, returning to an area that was familiar. In its 14 year history, Shelter to Home has never had such a busy 3 month period, serving 79 clients!!
This is good work we do.