Furniture drive helps MLK fire victims furnish new homes

Furniture drive helps MLK fire victims furnish new homes

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Families who lost everything in an apartment complex fire on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard on Dec. 22 are now back on their feet after several helping hands from the community.

A furniture drive was held Saturday afternoon at the Urban League of Greater Columbus for those who are starting over in a new home.

After the devastating fire just a month ago, several nonprofits reached their goal of getting displaced residents into permanent housing in less than 30 days from the fire.

"The 14 families that needed assistance, they've now moved into longtime housing,"  said Susan Cooper of Urban League of Greater Columbus.

To make their homes complete, a furniture drive was hosted to provide them with the basic necessities. People dropped off clothes, sheets, televisions and bed frames to be delivered directly to their new residence.

"Ashley Furniture already delivered queen sized beds and king sized beds, loved seats, computer desktops," said Cooper.

Shanda Banks and her son lost everything in the fire just day before Christmas.

"The fire experience was awful, it was devastating," said Banks.

Now they have a fully furnished new home.

"We're at Urban League today and we are still receiving things, furniture. Everybody reached out, we are so grateful and appreciative," said Banks.

Organizations such as New Horizons, United Way and the Red Cross met with real estate and property managers to assist in their transition from temporary housing.

"They were able to help all of the families with first months rent paid, security deposit and get their utilities turned on," said Cooper.

Residents were helped with getting their utilities turned on. Some of the furniture in the relief drive were new and gently used items.

The fire displaced 39 people all together. The 19 people who were staying at the Econo Lodge are now in their own home.

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