CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) – Julia and Gregory Lamb don’t know how they’ll survive the next year, after fire destroyed their Chilliwack home Saturday, leaving them, and many others with nothing but the clothes they escaped in.
The huge fire at the apartment building on Stevenson Road left about 100 people homeless, and was likely accidental. Flames tore through apartments, while heavy water damage ruined most of the Lamb`s belongings. The suite is being rebuilt, but won’t be ready for at least a year.
“We don’t really have anything at this point,” Julia says, adding most of her expensive equipment was damaged in the fire, including her electric wheelchair charger and breathing machine.
The couple, along with their pets, are living in a hotel and trying to look for affordable wheelchair-accessible housing. Lamb has to use complicated medical equipment on a daily basis and says finding a suitable home is extremely difficult.
“For an able-bodied person the vacancy rate is, I mean, locally, at zero per cent,” she says. “It’s going to be a real tough time finding somewhere to go.”
They’re expecting to be out of the apartment for at least a year, and say the cost of relocating is piling up, prompting them to launch a gofundme.
“We’re taking everything one thing at a time,” Juila says. “We’re just trying to find stable housing. That’s our top priority right now.”
Lamb says she has some leads on housing, but has no idea what her situation will be like in a few days. She can only work limited hours due to her medical condition and her husband is a new Canadian resident looking for work.
“We are not very stable financially, and this does not help us at all,” she says.
Even with their insurance, finding suitable and accessible housing is a challenge.
“That’s a slow paperwork process and it’s not going to be enough in our situation considering my medical needs,” she says.
The couple hopes to raise $10,000 to help bring stability to their lives while they wait for their apartment.
“We have been so heart-filled with the support of those around us and will forever be grateful,” Lamb writes on the page.