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Fire affected 42 downtown residential units

Posted: November 16, 2012 - 1:04am
Richard Dick, a resident of the Gastineau Apartments until the recent fire, is staying at the Breakwater Inn with help from the Tlingit & Haida Central Council. Dick, 61, will be moving into an open apartment at the Mendenhall Tower Apartments this weekend. Dick is also receiving help from Southeast Alaska Independent Living and LOVE, Inc.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Richard Dick, a resident of the Gastineau Apartments until the recent fire, is staying at the Breakwater Inn with help from the Tlingit & Haida Central Council. Dick, 61, will be moving into an open apartment at the Mendenhall Tower Apartments this weekend. Dick is also receiving help from Southeast Alaska Independent Living and LOVE, Inc.

To say the victims of the Gastineau fire are experiencing a tough time is an understatement. Everything they owned were either damaged or destroyed in the fire. And even with a tremendous outpouring of community and agency assistance, many of them still have no place to put donated household items. With Juneau’s tight housing market and the sometimes difficult task of saving up security deposits, many displaced by the fire are still crashing on couches, at St. Vincent de Paul and in hotel rooms around town.

Juneau Housing Assistance Program’s Shari Partin, program coordinator and Tamara Rowcroft, general manager, said their organization can help get folks into apartments and homes.

Rowcroft said those displaced by the fire can apply for help with security deposits for new housing.

“We can help find permanent housing,” Rowcroft said.

Partin said she wanted to make a plea to landlords to make themselves available to fire victims and to allow pets, as Gastineau did.

“These folks are all homeless now,” Partin said.

Juneau resident and former resident of the Gastineau Apartments Tara Greene said she is hopeful that the existing apartments can be salvaged.

During the committee’s discussion about the Gastineau fire it was recommended that all renters should invest in renter’s insurance “it’s little more than $20 a month.”

The next meeting of the Affordable Housing Committee is scheduled for December 11.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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