The Langley Lions Seniors’ Housing Society has been busy converting private lounges into housing units to make sure those who would have been homeless following the April 3 deadly fire have a roof over their heads for now.
At the moment, 20 out of the 100 people displaced by the fire at the Elm building had nowhere to go when provincial emergency funding ran out on Monday.
But the society that runs the large low-cost housing complex in Langley City has been busy converting lounges into housing units to help.
“We have committed to look after this smaller group with no place to go,” said administrator Jeannette Dagenais.
“Some will have to share a unit but most will get their own, she said.
“We’ve also converted Timbers dining room to feed them meals.”
Half of the 100 residents displaced by the fire returned home on Friday.
The man who was rescued from the fire, and was first listed in critical condition, has now recovered and the Lions have set him up in a first floor unit in one of the buildings, she said.
Both the Lions and fire department refuse to say who the man was who died in the fire that erupted in a second floor unit on April 3.
“He was a senior and from what we hear he was a hero,” said Dagenais.
At the time, Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender told the media that the man in his 80s was knocking on doors to get everyone out when he succumbed to the black smoke that had enveloped the hallways.
One hundred people were displaced, including numerous residents with mental health issues.
“The Salvation Army and Stepping Stone have been a huge help,” said Dagenais.
At the time, the province extended the emergency social services for those impacted by the fire at the Elm building from the usual 72 hours to three weeks. Most were housed at a local hotel.
A number of them have been using the meal service offered at the neighbouring Gateway of Hope.
There are seven who will not be able to move in for six months, she said.
They have been put up in a house and have the first option to move back if they want, she said.
Magnolia Gardens is housing four residents.
Many have been staying with family.
People living in one suite below the fire and two above lost everything in the fire, and a good portion of those on the second floor lost most possessions to smoke damage, she said.
None of the residents had contents insurance.
“It’s too early to know what people need,” she said of replacing lost furniture and housing items.
Many people have called The Times asking what they can donate. Once people start moving back in, the society will have a better idea of the need, said Dagenais.
The City fire department has yet to release any information on the cause of the fire.