Families affected by last week’s explosion on Woodman Avenue in London’s Old East Village will soon have access to some of the funds raised so far by the community.
Initial relief of approximately $50,000 is being given out over the next week to those impacted by the Aug. 14 explosion, officials with the Old East Village Community Association (OEVCA) announced Wednesday.
Families who remain displaced by the explosion will get $2,000 in immediate short-term assistance, and are also being supported by a designated volunteer from the neighbourhood who will assemble a package containing donated goods and services that meet their immediate needs, the association said.
Each family temporarily evacuated from their home on the night of the blast will receive $250 to cover immediate costs tied to the evacuation. They’re being asked to complete an online form so support can be distributed as quickly as possible. Volunteers will also go door-to-door next week.
Some 100 homes near Woodman and Queens avenues were forced to evacuate after a car, allegedly driven by an impaired driver, crashed into the front of 450 Woodman Ave., damaging the home’s gas line.
That resulted in an explosion which destroyed 450 Woodman and severely damaged several nearby homes. Two, 448 and 452 Woodman avenues, were demolished by city crews over the weekend.
Five others, 458, 456, 454, 446 and 444 Woodman, remained unsafe for reentry as of Saturday. The homes were damaged by fires sparked by raining, flaming debris.
Seven people were hospitalized following the explosion, including one resident, two police officers, and four firefighters. One of the firefighters remained in hospital in serious but stable condition as of Monday.
The funds are being distributed as part of the Woodman Families Fund, set up in the wake of the explosion by OEVCA and Life*Spin through Libro Credit Union.
The total amount of funds raised is still being tallied, the association said, with fundraisers and collections still taking place, including a benefit concert held Tuesday night at the Aeolian that featured local musicians.
The OEVCA is asking that all funds be donated to the Libro fund to centralize all money raised to make it easier to distribute.
“A process is currently being established where the most affected individuals and families can access more funding over the short, medium, and longer term,” read an OEVCA statement. “This funding will be distributed on a needs basis. More details on this process will be communicated as soon as possible.”
WATCH: Coverage of the Old East Village explosion in London on Globalnews.ca
Londoners looking to donate money to the fund can do so at any London Libro branch, or online to Life*Spin through Canada Helps. OEVCA says no further non-cash donations are needed or can be accepted at this time.
Other events are also being organized in support of Woodman residents.
The London Muslim Mosque is holding a barbecue on Sunday afternoon, and a “Beers for Woodman” event is being lined up for next month at Powerhouse Brewing Co., in partnership with Anderson Craft Ales and London Brewing Co-Op.