July 14, 2017 8:59 pm

Community rallying around Kelowna fire victims

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People displaced from their homes after a massive fire in Kelowna last Saturday are getting some help finding a new place to live.

“The goal is to find homes for all the residents who lost their homes in this fire,” Cailan Libby with Happipad said.

Happipad is a Kelowna-based, high-tech company that launched a website connecting renters and landlords this week.

After hearing about the fire, the company decided to host a meet and greet where the displaced tenants can meet face-to-face with property managers and landlords.

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“We had some residents from Water’s Edge reach out to us and through the coverage through Global, the residents at Walnut Grove, we found out are in quite a dire need of accommodation as well,” Libby said.

The fire displaced dozens of people, including 14 who lived at the Walnut Grove.

Walnut Grove is a former motel that for years now has been providing low income housing units.

With Kelowna’s vacancy rate below one per cent and skyrocketing rents, finding accommodation is not an easy task, especially for the people displaced from Walnut Grove.

“They don’t have much to begin with and now, you know, they don’t have anything so it is hard to see that,” Walnut Grove Manager Dennis Kovacic said. “It’s nice when the community comes together in situations like this and help in whatever way they can, it’s great, I am touched.”

The meeting will take place Monday evening from 6 until 9 p.m. at 1405 St. Paul Street.

“There is a severe urgency for this, these people need accommodation right away” Libby said. “We are inviting out landlords from Kelowna as well as all the residences that were affected by the fire to come out and meet each other and hopefully we can facilitate some interaction and find everyone a home.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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