Finding Help After House Fire

The day after my birthday my house burnt down to the ground. Luckily it was daytime and nobody was home, but we lost it all. The local Red Cross gave us $500, but with paying for a hotel, toiletries, and few items of clothing, on day 2 it is gone. Please we need advice where we can get help. We live in a poor area and charities are few and far between. I am a single mom of 2 little girls. Please help us with any info on where we can get help. Thank you, God Bless.

By Jodi

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May 15, 20110 found this helpful

Several years ago I worked as a receptionist in a Red Cross Office and in a situation like yours we gave a family a voucher for, if I remember right, two outfits for each family member, plus putting them up in a hotel (probably not for very long.)

The family was also allowed to pick the store where they wanted to use the vouchers. (I will add I didn't think that was right, because if you need help you should be satisfied getting clothing at a lower cost store.) In the winter they also got vouchers for coats, caps, and mittens for each member of the family that needed them.

After they found a place to live they were given vouchers for a set of bedding for each bed, and a set of towels for each family member. If they needed any furniture we referred them to thrift stores where they would usually be given stuff free. I think it was taken for granted that after a couple days the family would have found another place to live.

If one or two members of a family that needs help are working, there should be some income that would help with expenses. The Red Cross is for emergency type help only. A couple days in a motel should be long enough for a family to regroup.

Also if this fire was on the news, ask a friend of yours to start a fund drive for donations of items that you need, a lot of times here in SD when a family loosed everything in a fire, there is a drive asking for donations of clothing in specific sizes, toys for the kids, and cash donations made to a specifically named bank. Ask your church for some help. With all the disasters going on the country, the Red Cross doesn't have unlimited funds.

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Anonymous Flag
November 17, 20150 found this helpful

To the person who answered, it's funny how you said "a couple of days should be enougo time for people to regroup from a fire". Have you every had everything you owned lost in a fire? Do you know the psychological affects it can on someone? I just lost everything in an apt. Fire last week and I am though pretty much coping, but I just sat in my motel room crying for 2-3 hours from what I went through with the fire. It's devastating and I consider myself a pretty strong woman but even still I am having some bad days, lose my thought, in the middle of doing something I completely forget what I am doing. So please don't say a couple of days is enough time. It's a whole lot more days one has to go through.

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May 15, 20110 found this helpful

Also motel/hotel rooms come equipped with toiletries. You shouldn't have to be buying them as long as you are in a motel.

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May 15, 20110 found this helpful

I'm not sure what specific charities are in the area, but you should try your local churches; they usually have some emergency funds. I would also check with your town govt, they might have some assistance agencies. And if your kids are under 5 you should apply for WIC. Good luck. :)

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May 15, 20110 found this helpful

I used to be a receptionist in a Red Cross Office (several years ago), and at that time we would put a family up in a motel for a couple days until they could regroup and find a place to live. Usually there was family or friends that would take them in. We would give each family member a voucher for two outfits, depending on the weather additional vouchers for winter coats, etc. In a motel you shouldn't have to buy toiletries, that kind of items are in the room already. When they had a place to live they could get vouchers for a set of bedding for each bed and a set of towels for each family member. If furniture was needed referred them to thrift stores. When one or two people in a family are working there is some cash available. The Red Cross can't do a lot to help individual families with all the natural disasters going on in the country.

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Call 211, it is a nationwide number that can steer you to whatever help is in your area.

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May 17, 20110 found this helpful

Homeowners or renter's insurance?

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May 17, 20110 found this helpful

Try posting a "wanted" post on the Freecycle.org for your area. We have recently had requests for the same type of thing you are going through and people are always happy to help. Good luck and God bless!

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May 17, 20110 found this helpful

Call all the local towns around you. We have a "store" where that gives away free furniture. Try to get into a homeless shelter. They have lots of resources. Even if you have to travel that is better than not having a place to live. Also try to find out if you town or any towns around have a Social worker as they have all sorts of great information. Good luck.

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Anonymous Flag
October 27, 20150 found this helpful

I feel your pain, I'm a fire victim as well. So to say, you don't know how it is to be uninsured and own your home on a fixed income.To own your home for 35year

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