Resettled refugees start over again after Albany fire

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The Salvation Army is among the groups helping the impacted residents find new homes and move forward.

The Salvation Army continues its response to a fire that destroyed seven row houses in Albany, over the weekend.

The incident began at 5:00 a.m. Sunday at 140 Bradford Street and quickly spread through the shared walls. The impacted residences were home to over 50 former resettled refugees from Afghanistan, Burma and Iraq as well as immigrants from Bangladesh.

Jill Peckenpaugh, the director of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), the main refugee resettlement agency in Albany, told The Times Union, “I don’t believe there were any very recent refugee arrivals, but certainly people who arrived as refugees in recent years and are now hard-working members of the community, however [they] did not have renter’s insurance and find themselves starting completely over once again.”

Staff and volunteers from Emergency Disaster Services (EDS), Social Services and the Albany Area Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) provided information and assistance to all survivors in coordination with numerous area government agencies, social services agencies and relief organizations such as the City of Albany Housing Authority, Albany County Department of Social Services, Red Cross, ARRL and Catholic Charities.

On May 22, The Salvation Army Albany Area Services EDS Team participated in a Multi-Agency Resources Center (MARC) at the request of the City of Albany and Capitol Region Organizations Assisting in Disasters.

“[The MARC operations show the strength and cooperation that is at the heart of the Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) program model growing across New York State,” said Michael R. Schwartz, Empire State Division EDS Director. “Each COAD that rises up and forms provides a strong framework for all member agencies and organizations to be able to meet unmet needs in an impacted community while ensuring that there are no duplications in services, allowing resources to be used in the most timely and efficient way.”

As impacted families are relocated into new homes in the coming days and weeks, The Salvation Army will continue to provide recovery and social services until all needs are met.

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