$12,000 raised so far for 31 left homeless

It’s been a tough week for Ottawa resident Christine Carroll.

Her daughter, Amanda, 25, and Amanda’s boyfriend, Doug Beatty, 31, were two of the people left homeless after a massive early morning fire on Aug. 16 destroyed their 811 Somerset St. apartment.

But for Carroll, the tears that flowed during a press conference held yesterday at the Somerset West Community Health Centre weren’t tears of sadness, but ones of gratitude.


She was grateful that a Somerset West Fire Relief Fund established at city Scotiabank branches by the community health centre on the day of the fire has so far brought in $12,000 for the 31 victims of last week’s fire.

“People are fabulous,” she said. “Everyone’s been wonderful. They’ve given food and clothing. I have to thank everyone that night. These people have suffered a lot, and they deserved to be helped.”

The Somerset West Community Health Centre, for example, went beyond their call of duty in starting up the fund, Carroll said. And while there have been some kinks with social services, Carroll said she’s confident everyone’s doing their best.

As for her daughter and Beatty, Carroll said their basic needs at the moment are food and gathering clothing.

Aileen Leo, chairwoman of the Somerset West Community Health Centre Board, said she was “very pleased” with the amount raised so far.

“This quick and overwhelming response demonstrates the strength of our community in a time of great need,” she said.

Collection for the fund continues through Friday, but it will be another week before the funds are distributed to the victims, Leo said.

“We want to get that money to victims as quickly as possible,” she said.

There’s a variety of ways the board is considering reaching out to the victims, said Leo, including based on greatest need or by unit, but no method has been finalized.

The board would like to collect as much money as possible before Friday, Community and Social Services director Suzanne O’Byrne said in French. But they didn’t have a fundraising goal at the outset.

People who want to donate can do so by cash or cheque at any Scotiabank location, said Leo.

Long term, the centre will be working to organize services to help people rebuild their lives, Leo said.

helping out

  • Carroll said she’s also in the process of planning a fundraiser, possibly a bake sale, to help all victims of the fire.

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