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Fundraiser launched to help men left homeless by Barton Street fire

A fire at a transitional home on Barton Street East has left five men homeless. Hamilton Fire Department

A fundraiser has been launched to help find shelter for several men who have been left homeless after a fire at a transitional home in Hamilton.

Firefighters were called to the building at 319 Barton St. E., between Victoria Avenue and Wentworth Street, at about 3 p.m. on Monday, where heavy smoke could be seen coming from the second floor.

One person was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to hospital.

On Friday, Hamilton fire officials confirmed that the cause of the blaze was determined to be “improperly discarded smoking articles”, with damage estimated at $110,000.

The building is home to The Bridge: From Prison to Community, a non-profit organization that helps people who have recently been released from prison turn their lives around and re-enter society.

Read more: Barton Street apartment ‘significantly’ damaged in city centre blaze, Hamilton fire says

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Maja Rehou, executive director of The Bridge, said the five men who were staying there are still in shock.

“One minute they’re moving forward and the next minute, they’re homeless. All of their possessions, everything that they’ve they had, their clothes are all gone. So they’re still just trying to wrap their head around everything.”

The Red Cross was able to temporarily set up four of the men in a hotel, while one person has gone to stay with one of their social supports, but Rehou said Hamilton’s emergency shelter system is full and they need a more stable situation.

One of the men had just recently gotten a full-time job, but Rehou said his employment — as well as the progress of the others — is now in jeopardy without the stability that comes with having a place to live.

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She’s launched a GoFundMe to raise money to help find a solution for those who were impacted.

The Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) has also put out a call for Hamiltonians to help those displaced by the fire.

 

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