Oskaloosa.com

Local News

December 16, 2010

Love INC works with others to aid fire victims

OSKALOOSA — The flames may have died, but there is still much to be done for the victims of Sunday’s fire that destroyed an apartment building at 732 High Ave. W.

Robin Pfalzgraf, regional ministries coordinator for Love INC., said her organization has been working with other agencies to get new housing for these people since the night of the blaze. She said temporary housing at a local hotel was secured that night thanks to the efforts of the Mahaska County Homeless Coalition.

“We were called by the owner of the building that night,” Pfalzgraf said.

In the days that have followed the fire, Love INC. has continued their efforts for those who lost their homes.

“It has been a zoo here,” said Pfalzgraf Wednesday afternoon. “By the grace of God, we think we have found the residents homes. We’re just doing everything that needs to be done.”

Although some still need to find permanent housing, Pfalzgraf said it could be another week or two before all the details are nailed down.

Pfalzgraf said one former resident of 732 High Ave. W. has found an apartment and even has furniture already, while another will be looking at a house soon. She added, one former resident is affiliated with William Penn University and is working with Athletic Director Greg Hafner on getting housing.

“In two weeks, hopefully I’ll be able to say it feels awesome to have had a part in getting these people housing,” said Pfalzgraf.

Although its had challenges, getting the fire victims what they need to live has been a collaborative effort, Pfalzgraf said, adding that she actually volunteers with the Mahaska County Homeless Coalition, as well.

“These same entities come together every day,” she said. “People are only seeing it now because of the fire. But, we all work together every day so we know what to do.”

Part of knowing what to do for the fire victims in dire straits is helping those who want to help them, explained Pfalzgraf. She said the Love INC office has been letting folks know how they can help over the past few days. Pfalzgraf added, it can be difficult for Love INC to respond to every call they get the same day it comes in, but that they are working to return all the calls they’ve been getting in the wake of Sunday night’s devastating fire.

Pfalzgraf said she is very appreciative of local residents and their concern for those left homeless from the fire, which also destroyed the printing business Precise Imaging.

“They’ve made a difference, not only in the lives of the victims, but in the lives of these agencies helping them,” said Pfalzgraf, who noted that getting the fire victims in contact with various agencies that can help them in their time of need has also been a priority.

Oskaloosa’s Love INC office can be reached at 672-1568.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com

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