The American Red Cross (ARC) has identified 63 people displaced who lived in 20 apartments at the Little Lotts Creek apartments in Statesboro that are homeless due to a fire on Monday, March 29th. The ARC responded to the scene on Monday with a disaster action team who met with every victim of the fire.
The ARC provided temporary financial assistance which provided them enough funds to get a hotel for a few days. Bulloch VOAD negotiated a special rate at several hotels to get residents through the first few days. Most of these hotels are now raising the rates back to normal and they do not have kitchen facilities. The displaced are now out of funds.
Hope to Return to their Apartments Quickly has Faded
Early in the week it was the hope of the residents that some of them would be allowed back into their apartments. After inspections by safety crews they requested structural engineers to perform an inspection before anyone could go back into the apartments.
The structural engineers will not arrive on the site until Thursday, April 8th.
Katherine Parks, Site Manager for the complex has been working with the 20 families who are dicplaced to determine a path forward.
“We know several of the residents will need to be relocated based on the damage to their apartments. We are looking for options for them and tying to assist where we can,” said Parks. “Our hope is that eight of the units on the ends can be reoccupied if giving approval by the structural engineers. Until then we have residents that need temporary financial assistance to get a hotel until we can figure out each of their individual situations.”
Hardworking Statesboro Residents
Many of the displaced residents are single mothers who are living paycheck to paycheck. They have been absolutely devastated by this tragic fire. They work at businesses in including:
- Sally Mae’s Restaurant
- Bulloch County Schools
- Walmart Distribution
- Briggs & Stratton
- Claude Howard Lumber
- Effingham Hospital
ARC Funding Exhausted – Locals Assisted Some MORE HELP NEEDED
After exhausting financial options with the Red Cross Parks reached out to Bulloch VOAD and Bulloch EMA for assistance. They have requested financial assistance from city, county, state and federal resources. None of these entities have responded with immediate financial assistance.
Pittman Park Church, Christian Social Ministries, First United Methodist Soup Kitchen and Edie’s Vaccination Pin Project, along with a few charitable individuals have provided some financial assistance. Fostering Bulloch Hope Chest and the Statesboro Food Bank have provided clothing and food assistance.
Due to COVID restrictions a congregate shelter is not an option. Because of this, funding is provided to allow victims to stay in local hotels.
ACTS was not able to assist due to funding shortfalls and high demand. United Way has reached out to representatives with the Salvation Army, but no assistance has developed at this time. Request made to the City of Statesboro for the potential use of CARES funding set aside for emergency COVID rent assistance with no response.
Community Financial Assistance Needed Now
Bulloch VOAD has negotiated a rate at an extended stay hotel which has a kitchen in each room, for $40.87 per night including tax. This is based on a seven day stay for $286.09 per week. There are 15 families who need rooms for at least a week. Many of them will need them for at least two weeks.
Based on 15 rooms for two weeks we need $8,582.70. Bulloch VOAD is requesting the community to step up and help us get these Statesboro citizens a place to stay for a couple of weeks.
Sponsorship for one night or more is needed immediately. If you would like to help immediately contact DeWayne Grice at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone at 912-489-3912 or Katherine Parks at email@example.com if you are willing to write a check directly to the hotel. If you need to give through a 501C3 CEDRC has offered to take contributions.
The Coastal Empire Disaster Recovery Committee (CEDRC) at a request of Bulloch VOAD has offered to assist with contribution collection, management and distribution.
Or mail checks to: CEDRC, P.O. Box 1133 Pooler, Ga 31322
PLEASE DO NOT TAKE ITEMS TO LITTLE LOTS CREEK
Citizens have responded by bringing used clothing and other items this week to the complex. This has become very difficult to manage and store. Parks is requesting financial assistance immediately. They are working with each family to determine needs. They are also working with a few local nonprofit organizations to assist in gathering items that they may need.
They will need help in collecting the items, sorting, storing and then distributing.
Affordable Apartments NOT SECTION 8
There is a misconception in the community that these apartments are section 8 housing. They are not section 8 but are affordable. A two bedroom apartment rents for $625 plus utilities and a three bedroom for $705 plus utilities.