With the influx of evacuees, many community groups and organizations have gone above and beyond to make those displaced as comfortable as possible. One of those organizations is AiMHi. It is housing 18 people; both with special needs and their caretakers, from Williams Lake.
“Sunday it was pretty smoky,” says Susan Means, the Residential Coordinator of the Williams Lake Association For Community Living. ” Some of the fires had restarted. The group home down on Dairy Lane–I decided it was time to move them up to Eagle Crescent so we could have them all together in case we had to evacuate. So we grouped them all together on Sunday, and Monday came around and in the evening we got the notice. The staff had them all packed and we were out of there.”
The Association couldn’t take chances. “Because they are special needs, if something were to happen dramatically, it takes little longer to get them loaded and moving,” says Means. “We need to pack medications and equipment.”
AiMHi was quick to respond to the need. “We received a call from the Williams Lake Association For Community Living,” says Kathleen Moir, a Program Director at AiMHi. “They asked us if we would be willing to help them out and take in some people living in group homes and supported living homes due to wildfires.”
AiMHi is working closely with Community Living British Columbia to meet the needs of the evacuated patients and caretakers. “We went out and purchased brand new bedding, brand new beds, pillows and mattress covers for individuals so they could be comfortable and feel at home,” says Moir. “Our gym we are in right now is under renovations. So we quickly put away those renovation ideas into our overhang.”
Evacuees can’t say enough about Prince George, and AiMHi. “Amazing, amazing!” says Means. “We have wanted for nothing.”
“It feels a lot like home because everyone in Prince George-I don’t care what you say- we are family,” says Mike Gayblades, a Patient at the Jubilee Care House in Williams Lake. “I’d like to thank AiMHi for providing us with beds and everything.”
AiMHi is on standby for 8 more people at the Community Living Centre in Williams Lake. The organization is ready to receive them if conditions worsen.