Agencies hold one-day open house to help Waupelani Heights residents

Local and regional service agencies will hold a one-day open house for Waupelani Heights residents who were displaced by a July 4 fire at the State College apartment complex.

Fire officials said a grilling mishap on an apartment balcony was the cause of the late-night fire that quickly destroyed the building and left more than 40 residents without homes. No one was injured in the blaze.

On Monday, representatives from more than a dozen agencies will be on hand to assist residents with their needs, making plans and arrangements and making referrals to other organizations.

“We’re looking at a multitude of ways that we can help people,” said Ron Quinn, executive director of Housing Transitions Inc., which will be on hand Monday. “There were as many children as adults affected by this fire.”

The meetings will be held from 9 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the State College Municipal Building, Room 201, at 243 S. Allen St.

The one-day clearinghouse is being held in conjunction with the American Red Cross, Centre County Office of Adult Services and the borough.

Quinn said the Hotel Do De fire in Bellefonte lin September helped prepare local agencies for what happened at Waupelani Heights, where residents lost not only their homes, but important documents, clothing, food, medicine and other items.

“The Do De fire, which was unfortunate, did provide us with a template for how to do this,” he said. “We are able to utilize the resources and management that we used following the Do De fire. Because of that, things came together rather quickly.”

The following agencies will be represented Monday:

•  Catholic Charities

•  Central PA Community Action

•  Centre County Women’s Resource Centre

•  Centre Volunteers in Medicine

•  Community Help Centre

•  Interfaith Human Services

•  Salvation Army

•  Housing Transitions Inc.

•  Centre County Office of Mental Health/Intellectual Disability

•  Early Intervention and Drug & Alcohol

•  Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services

•  Penn State Office of Global Programs

•  Penn State Housing Departments

•  NDC Property Management, the Waupelani Heights landlord.

•  Staff at Rep. Scott Conklin’s office at 301 S. Allen St. will be available to help residents obtain copies of lost birth certificates and/or identifications.

The regional homeless coordinator for local school districts will be there to provide information and resources for families with children attending local schools.

Free parking is available in the Allen Street lot across the street from the municipal building.

“The response of the community has been great,” Quinn said. “There have been a lot of offers for assistance. We have to put that all together, assess what we have and match it up with what people need.”