While the East Coast was dealing with Hurricane Irene over the weekend, there was an apartment fire not far from me in Boystown (the “gay neighborhood” in Chicago). A lot of people are homeless right now (thankfully, though, it doesn’t look like any lives were lost).
About 100 people were displaced by the blaze, since about 60 units were affected, according to the American Red Cross. Most of the residents who were displaced have been able to find temporary shelter with family, a Red Cross spokeswoman said.
The buildings are located on a quiet block about half a block west of the Hydrate bar and Caribou Coffee shop on the Boystown strip of Halsted Street.
My friend Mark Perry runs an organization called The AIDS Victory Fund and he’s collecting donations to help those people who have been displaced:
The AIDS Victory Fund traditionally focuses on raising money for HIV/AIDS research. But we also all have a responsibility to help out when a crisis arises. In that vein, The AIDS Victory Fund is accepting donations to support the victims of an extra-alarm fire that left 100 people homeless in Chicago’s North Halsted (Boystown) neighborhood on Saturday, August 27. From now until Sept 5, 2011, all donations will be given directly to a victim fund created by The Salvation Army to address this extraordinary situation.
I realize the Salvation Army is a Christian organization — and they have a despicable stance against homosexuality — but they’re doing the right thing in this situation by creating a fund specifically for the victims of this fire. Mark and I can assure you that you’re not “helping the enemy” if you help out in this case.
If you’d like to pitch in and make a difference for the GLBT people (and straight allies) who are struggling right now, please go here and donate something. I pitched in, too. Thanks in advance.