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Monday, July 30, 2018

MAC provides shelter and services to displaced Westbury fire residents

MAC provides shelter and services to displaced Westbury fire residents

When the Westbury apartment building caught fire forcing all residents to seek long-term shelter elsewhere, the city’s MAC recreation center sprang into action. Parks, Recreation and Libraries staff worked with the Red Cross and Salvation Army to transform part of the facility into a 24/7 shelter.

“We got the phone call Wednesday at 2 p.m. that a resident would be arriving that same evening,” said Recreation Supervisor II Deb Larsen. “Recreation Services Manager Justin Cutler and Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Moser worked with Red Cross and Salvation Army staff to make it happen.”

Red Cross staff set up an intake room near the MAC’s entrance to help Westbury residents’ transition. They also transformed a community room into a shelter with seven cots and an adjacent room into a dining area with food provided by the Salvation Army. A physician assistant with the Red Cross is also on hand during the day to help residents obtain lost medications, give first aid and provide overall medical assessments and recommendations.

One resident, who arrived Wednesday night, has been using the services at the MAC and the Rodeo Market donation center to get back on her feet.

“Irving Street library has also provided adult and kids’ books for any resident who comes to the MAC for shelter,” said Larsen.

When somebody is living at the MAC, the facility must be staffed round the clock. Employees have been taking turns staying overnight at the facility and sleeping on a bed in Larsen’s office.

“I want to thank MAC staff who have volunteered to make the facility a welcoming place. And thanks to city staff who have provided donations or come by to help set up cots and other emergency supplies,” said Larsen.

“The MAC is a social place that’s bright and friendly and we want to provide comfort and safety to Westbury fire victims in their time of need,” said Larsen.

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