The call for generosity launched by the City of Saguenay on Tuesday has been heard.
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In particular, a resident of the La Baie sector, Marie-Josée Simard, generously offered accommodation in the basement of her residence, so that a disaster victim could stay there for as long as necessary.
For Marie-Josée and her family, offering this hospitality to disaster victims went without saying. Having herself lost everything during a fire that ravaged the family residence in October 2021, she is able to understand the ordeals they have to go through.
“I put myself in their shoes. We helped right away, we didn’t even ask myself and my spouse a question. We had a unit downstairs that was supposed to be an Airbnb, so we canceled the request,” she explained.
People had been very generous with Marie-Josée and her family when they lost everything in the fire. So it was only natural for them to pay it forward.
“It’s a ball of emotion when you have help like that. We feel a little privileged so it is for this reason that I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be able to give to the next one, ”she added.
For five families evacuated to La Baie, the news is less good. They learned Wednesday morning that their residences will be demolished. This is the case of Karine Minier, whose residence is at the top of the embankment, on Avenue du Parc. His garage is, among other things, part of what was previously washed away. Despite the circumstances, she shows great resilience.
“I expected that. What hurt was realizing it was true. For the moment, it is not possible to go and get things inside. I would tell you that this is what hurts me the most right now. We asked them, they said they would do everything possible only if it was safe. In the only half hour that I was able to go get things, I had still chosen things that were dear to my heart, memories. But it was done quickly and there I realize that there are plenty of things that I will no longer have and which are difficult to replace. To see this little hope extinguished, it was difficult this morning, ”she said.
She can currently count on the help of her parents where she is currently staying.
It’s not easy for everyone to find longer-term accommodation. This is the case of Nathalie Tremblay, who currently lives in a trailer on her parents’ property with one of her daughters. She is part of a blended family. The other members of his family are housed elsewhere. However, they are not united under the same roof, because it is more complicated for the City to find vacant and available long-term housing, especially with several bedrooms.
“It is sure that given the concept of the situation, we would like to be together. We need rooms for everyone. Maybe two in the same room. We only had 30 minutes to evacuate. Those who live further down the mountain had from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning to pick up their personal things. I live in a suitcase. Already there, it is difficult to find furnished accommodation. At that time, I would like us to be able to take out furniture and personal effects as much as possible, as others have had time to do,” she said.
Saguenay has given itself the mandate to find long-term housing for everyone by the end of the week and continues to work in this direction. The Municipal Housing Office also announced that 11 families were being relocated Wednesday afternoon to temporary accommodation. About twenty accommodations are still available and some may be semi-furnished, the organization said in a press release.