On Nov. 7, a fire broke out at the Lakehaven Apartments in north Sunnyvale, in the Lakewood Village neighborhood. Although swift action by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety contained the fire to two units, the entire complex had to be red tagged, leaving 51 residents, including 20 children–many of whom are SSD students–without homes.
The Red Cross immediately helped families during the first few days after the fire. Over Veterans Day weekend, the City of Sunnyvale and Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS) worked together to connect with the families to assess their needs. SCS has now taken over case management of the Lakehaven families. With the cooperation of local motels, SCS is finding temporary shelter so that residents have a safe and secure place to stay. SCS will work individually with each family and household to help them secure new housing.
SCS asks local companies, foundations, and individuals to help these fire victims. Since the families do not have a place to store items, SCS is asking for cash donations and gift cards, and help identifying affordable housing in Sunnyvale and neighboring communities.
The Lakewood Tech EQ family pulled together to do what they could and were able to get shoes, jackets, socks, underwear, daily wear and gift cards. In one day the school collected over $500 in gift cards, three suitcases of new clothes and shoes, and eight bags of donated items for the families.
“Our community is awesome!” said Principal Pam Cheng. Lakewood Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Avila made the delivery of everything herself!
For anyone who would like to assist with the families affected by the fire, SCS has an immediate need for:
- Cash Donations are most needed. Few households have savings for such a catastrophe. It can cost $7,000 or more for the security deposit and first month’s rent for a new apartment. Donations can be sent to SCS or made online at www.svcommunityservices.org. On SCS’s “Give” page, you can select “640 Lakehaven” under the Cause menu to direct your gift specifically to help the families affected by this fire.
- Grocery and Restaurant Gift Cards. Because these families currently don’t have kitchen facilities, for the near future they’ll need to eat at restaurants and buy ready-to-eat foods from grocery stores. Gift cards are especially welcome for family-friendly restaurants.
- Department Store Gift Cards. Families have lost possessions, and will have to leave behind many items including clothing and household goods, since they do not have a place to store items now.
- Referrals to housing. Especially need larger 2- and 3- bedroom units for families with children.
If you have any questions, please contact Marie Bernard, Executive Director, Sunnyvale Community Services, email@example.com or 408-738-4321 x. 207.
This article was written in collaboration with Sunnyvale Community Services.