Neighbors are stepping up to help a Maplewood family displaced by fire, but more aid is needed.
The family of six was displaced from their Brown Street home near Seth Boyden school on June 30. Since then, they’ve been couch-surfing and scrambling to find a more stable temporary housing situation.
Village Green spoke with the mother of the family on July 9 and she explained that the major need for the family, which includes herself, her husband and their four school-age children (a fifth child has already graduated high school), is a more permanent housing situation.
The family is currently staying at Homewood Suites in East Rutherford, but will need to relocate at the end of this week as Homewood has no space for them moving forward this month.
“We’d like to be able to stay to the end of the month,” she said. However, Homewood Suites told her, “This month is their busiest month.”
“We’re trying to find a room that sleeps six of us but it’s hard. Two rooms is a lot of money.” The mom said that the family previously stayed with her family and at another hotel and that they have had offers from friends for short-term stays but they need a somewhat more permanent situation were they aren’t underfoot or moving every few days.
And, by September, they will need to be in South Orange-Maplewood so the kids — ages 13, 10, 8 and 5 — can get to class at Seth Boyden and Maplewood Middle schools.
The mom said that the family has used up the funds provided by the Red Cross and has dipped into savings that they had set aside for a family trip.
As it is, the kids are not at camp presently. Two were scheduled to go to sleep-away camp, but their current financial situation — and the desire to be close after a near tragedy — caused the family to scrap those plans. Currently, the children are enjoying the pool at the hotel as well as a computer room, but that situation may change depending on where the family next finds shelter.
The father is able to commute easily to his job from the East Rutherford location. The mom works seasonally with an accounting firm and was set to return to work at the end of this month but has put off her return until October as she deals with the family’s housing situation and recovery from the displacement.
How can you help?
- Dr. DeShaunta Johnson, a neighbor and PTA board member at Seth Boyden School, organized a gofundme to help the family with their needs. Donate here.
- Realtor Rodney Fontil is working to help the family find better temporary and permanent housing. Contact Fontil at Hearth Realty Group, 22 First Street, South Orange, NJ. 914-473-7493. [email protected].
- An Amazon wish list of needed items has been created for the family. Visit here: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/DVZ02BWMKZB?ref_=wl_share
Village Green will continue to follow this story and report updates.