"Just so you know, the three of us are standing outside because 'Ro's' house burnt down. We're fine, their house is bad news. All alive but kids got 2nd-degree burns. On face and chest I think."
That's the text message I got at 3:10 AM from one of our Urban Neighbors who lives in the Urban Homework's duplex on Elliot Avenue in the Phillips neighborhood. At first the cause of the fire was unknown, but it is now being investigated as an arson. The fire was started outside the building, potentially with gas, while the family/kids were asleep inside.
Before you continue, please take a moment to read the compelling, and heartbreaking, story of the event and the newest details (note: there are graphic and heartbreaking photos of the little girls’ burns): http://wcco.com/local/2.girls.saved.2.1603296.html.
Here is an update on UHW-community response:
>Urban Neighbors: Daniel, Matt, and Pat have gotten to know the family somewhat in the past year, and have located them since the fire. Red Cross stepped in with emergency assistance I think. As of yesterday the family does not seem to have a plan for what’s next. The little girls are still in the hospital. Daniel was telling the story to a Augsburg College staffer, who donated $100 to go for a gift card for the families needs.
>UHW housing: we have communicated via the Urban Neighbors that the family could apply for housing for our next vacancy (earliest May 1), but we have a waiting list of other families in tough situations themselves. This just reminds us of the dire need for dignified housing for so many lower income and working families who are already on-the-edge.
>Ways to respond/support the family: if you feel so compelled, here is a way to get money into a fund for the family via Wells Fargo: http://wcco.com/local/2.girls.saved.2.1603296.html.