Family facing housing problems after fire

Altoona, Blair County, Pa. - Emma Burger doesn't have a house to call her own after a fire destroyed hers along Walnut Avenue.

"I've lived here for 20 years. It's just everything I worked for is gone in just a matter of a couple of hours its gone."

Her home was uninsured and since the fire Burger is staying in a hotel but her family of five is split up across the City of Altoona.

"I have two grand sons. My oldest is staying with a friend of his, my youngest grandson is staying with a friend of his, and my granddaughter is staying with some of her friends. I just want to get my family back together again."

Sergio Carmona is with the Blair County Community Action Agency.

He works to help people who have lost their homes. 

"In those situations its unexpected. People are living check to check so they don't have the ability put down lets say a thousand dollars or a couple thousand dollars to get right into a place," said Carmona.

He says peole will try to find subsidized or section 8 housing, but it's difficult to secure for large families. 

"If there is a family 5 but continuous turnover in units that are appropriate for lets say a family of 3 or family of 2 then they wouldn't come up to the list. They wouldn't try to squeeze them into a smaller apartment than what was appropriate for them."

Burger says the list of resources she was given after the fire doesn't seem to help.

"Really to be honest there aren't too many on this list that we can call. Most of them are for senior citizens or it's for homeless employment, adult services, long range planning for clients, mental health, retardation. There's really nothing on here we can use."

Blair County Community Action is in touch with Emma and her family.

They say it could take between 30 and 90 days to find appropriate housing for them. 
 


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