Three homeless after Spokane apartment fire - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Three homeless after Spokane apartment fire

SPOKANE, Wash.- Nineteen of 22 people displaced from an apartment fire May 8 now have living arrangements, thanks to Spokane-area community members.

The fire, at Hifumi En Apartments, 926 E. Eighth Ave., seriously damaged 41 units. It was set intentionally, according to police, and officers have been looking for that person.  It's the third suspicious fire set at that apartment complex in the last six months.

Forty people were displaced in the fire, 15 of whom have found temporary living arrangements with friends and family. Three of those people are still in the hospital from injuries suffered during the fire.  Their injuries are said to be non-life-threatening.  However, 22 people displaced had been staying at a Post Falls motel, at a cost of $1,400 per day. They had to be out of the apartment by Friday because all the rooms are reserved.

Normally those people could be moved to a Spokane motel, but all rooms were fully booked because of the Lilac Parade. The residents of the apartment complex are low-income, elderly, or disabled. Their rent was subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  It will be Monday, at the earliest, that they find out if HUD will provide a grant to cover those residents.

The Spokane low income assistance organization SNAP stepped in to help. SNAP's director Ron Hardin came to KHQ to get the word out about what he calls "a housing emergency." He wanted community members to donate money to help provide assistance to those displaced residents. Paying for all those people is costly and can drain non-profit coffers.

The Spokane-area community came through. As of Friday morning, they have enough donations to cover 19 of those 22 people for a short time, said Hardin. Three more people still need assistance. To help, you can call SNAP at (509) 456-7106.

The apartment's owner says it will be six to eight weeks until anyone can move back into the apartment complex. Some people said they're leery of moving back in because there because of the previous arsons.

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