Just a day after Monday's fire destroyed a block of Howe Avenue, displacing apartment tenants and wiping out businesses on the first floor, many of the residents have been placed in temporary housing, such as area hotels. Several are still seeking shelter but have been staying at the firehouse.
Working to get the donations distributed Tuesday were the Valley United Way and volunteers including firefighters, Planning and Zoning Commission member Jimmy Tickey and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. A member of U.S. Rep. Jim Himes' office was also in the firehouse.
Michelle Bialek, co-owner of Liquid Lunch, which still stands next to the wreckage, greeted displaced residents as they entered the building. Several owners of the damaged or destroyed businesses -- Petal Pusher, Howe Convenient, an art school, the Joy Lee Restaurant and the Universal Hair Studio -- were at the fire house Tuesday to learn more about what aid was available from the state.
Tickey said he was amazed at the turnout of donations, and attributed the success in part to social media.
"We're thrilled," he said. "Helping people, and connecting those in need to the resources available is what government is suppose to do. It's unbelievable. It's extraordinary."
According to the American Red Cross, 25 adults and one child, making up 21 families, are being helped. They were issued debit cards for food, clothing, housing and other necessities, said Susan Parker, senior director of Emergency Services for the New Haven chapter.
Donations for fire victims can still be brought to the firehouse on Coram Avenue.