A letter from our CEO, Lenita Dunlap
Yesterday, as we all did, I awoke to a frigid morning, an unheard-of cold for a March in our city. I was expecting it to be another normal day, but it’s far from it.
Sadly, I didn’t know then that at dawn, more than 26+ families had already awoken to sirens and the firemen knocking on their apartment doors in Vickery… my Vickery, the home I’ve adopted for the last 4+ years, and woken up to every day to serve children who had already lost everything, perhaps more than once or twice..
Yesterday, in Vickery, on Holly Hill, these families in just 20 minutes were left homeless.
It was on the radio that I heard of the news.
As I raced up to the complex just mere blocks from Heart House, I knew families were hurting. As a community, we are tight-knit, so we got together and by 1pm, we all converged at the Northwest Community Center, driven by love, around figuring out the best way to support our families.
My heart is hurting, but I am steadfast in my belief that we come together in Vickery.
I know too well the chaos that can ensue for children and families who once were refugees—refugees who had lived great amidst chaos, and who then had found calm.. So like we do in Vickery, we came together.
Because you know our families in Vickery, I write to ask for your help and support as we help move these families literally from the streets back to a normal semblance of life.
There are 16 families who are displaced due to the fire and are relocated in a new apartment. 10 more families are still living in dilapidated homes because they don’t want to lose their items and belongings, so last night, they slept in cold and unsafe apartments. We are working today with the city to ensure their safety as well, and they too will need help with relocation.
We know many of you will be asking how to help, and during times of crisis, cash assistance is the fastest, most efficient way to support our families in need.
Heart House along with our partners, will be coordinating over the next week to help our families find new homes, food, and day-to-day assistance so they can find a sense of calm again.. We each are reaching out to our respective friends and family for support, because we know we can’t do this alone.
Heart House has established a Family Relief Fund, as we know the path will be long for families.
Today is the emergency, but we want to ensure our families that we’re here until every single one of them are back in their own beds, eating together at the table, and the children comforted by home.
To donate, please text VICKERY to 50155
I’m resolved in the community’s response to support. It’s an honor to work alongside such compassionate people. Thank you in advance for the support and love you will show.