City helps fire victims, some want more - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City helps fire victims, some want more

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October 4, 2006

Albany -- A dozen families displaced by the fire last week in their Odom Avenue apartments are settling into temporary new homes. They lived in city-owned apartments, so the city found them emergency shelter for ninety days.

But some families say that's not enough. Families living in these temporary homes say they're looking for more helping hands-- not free handouts.

"For the people that say that, I wish it had happened to them. Then they'll see how it feels to not have anything anymore," says Brian Pitts. 

He lost almost everything in the fire that destroyed his Odom Street apartment. The city quickly came to the rescue, but Pitts wants a guarantee of housing for more than three months.

"That time goes fast when you're financially unable to take care of yourself. It's a wait and see type thing. We really don't know what we're going to do," says Pitts.

Right now, four families live in those temporary homes, all of them are looking for permanent housing. The city is working to help them do just that.

"We have certain limits as to what we can do for the households, but we're doing everything in our power to help them," says Jennifer Clark with the City of Albany. 

The city is working closely with the Albany Housing Authority to help the families. "What we're trying to do now is list out all of our options for them, and let them make their choices based on them," say Clark.

Pitts has yet to hear from the housing authority but continues to hope for the best. Through it all, he is thankful what help he has received from the community. "We really appreciate what they did," he says.

After the ninety days are up, if the families still need help, the city says a non-profit group may help them transition to more permanent housing.

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