An important Edmonton social agency that began with a group of neighbours helping a fire victim in 1986, now needs your help finding a new home.
Within a year of being created on a shoestring budget, the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society helped victims of the 1987 Edmonton tornado. The society later was the major collector of goods to help out after the 2011 Slave Lake wildfires.
Whenever a major crisis happened in the Edmonton area, donations would be brought to the EERSS, and hundreds of volunteers would come in to help sort and distribute the goods.
The Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society has helped almost ten thousand Edmontonians in need so far this year, plus over 77 thousand Fort McMurray fire evacuees.
Between major catastrophic events, the EERSS operates year round helping fire victims, low income Edmontonians in need, and the homeless.
The society’s Nicole Geoffroy says they’ve just learned the province is selling the downtown building that they have been using since 1989, for just one dollar per year. The generous warehouse at 10255 104 Street is about 2,200 square meters in size.
Geoffroy says they could get by with about half that space. “About 12 thousand square feet (1,100 square meters). It would need to be able to be accessible for our clientele, such as the homeless, and those with low incomes. It would need either parking or busing. It would need to be around somewhere where everyone could access our resources.”
When the province allowed Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society to first have their current site, the location was nowhere near as desirable as it is now – thanks to all the recent downtown development.
The society is a bind now, not knowing if they will suddenly be closed down, if a new location is not found.
Geoffroy says “I believe that what the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services does, is something that cannot be replaced or duplicated if something was to happen.”
The building needs much improvement, including new wiring, so it might just be purchased to be completely redeveloped.
If you know of a suitable low cost (or free) space might be available for them, call 780-428-4422. (eb)