BBOT calls for help for fire victims

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The Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) is calling on its members to contribute to relief efforts for victims of the fire that destroyed a 34-unit apartment building on Smith Avenue almost two weeks ago.

"Over 100 people were left homeless, most have low or moderate incomes and all are faced with the very expense task of rebuilding their lives," said BBOT president and CEO Paul Holden in a letter to its members.

The greatest immediate need is for the victims to replace their identification without which they can't access bank accounts or rent new homes.

Every province charges a fee for replacement birth certificates, with Manitoba, where several of the Smith Avenue tenants are from, requiring six to eight weeks unless an additional $80 is paid.

Another fire victim requires a new birth certificate from Alberta, which requires applications to be notarized, an added expense.

Anyone willing to provide free notary services to help fire victims get new birth certificates is asked to contact Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA Kathy Corrigan’s office at 604-775-2414.

The Salvation Army Metrotown at 6125 Nelson St. in Burnaby (604-437-1521) is accepting cash donations, clothing and household goods for the fire victims.

And the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness is helping displaced Smith Avenue residents to find affordable housing. Anyone with an affordable place to rent in Burnaby is asked to contact the task force's Wanda Mulholland at 604-317-8114.

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