Community Hope Center helps Unno hotel fire victims

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, January 02, 2017, 8:06 PM EST

The Unno Boutique Hotel remains closed, meaning more than 50 families don't have a place to call home.

In the meantime, a lot of these people are working with the Community Hope Center for long term case management to help get them back on their feet.

Yonaka Smith lost everything she owned to the fire at Unno Boutique Hotel. "And then we woke up, the cops were yelling get out, get out, get out," she said.

Smith said she's grateful the Community Hope Center is helping her every step of the way. The Hope Center is helping her and her five kids get into a federal program for affordable housing.

"All five of my boys said, 'Mom we gotta tell you something, this is the best Christmas ever.' They don't even focus on the fire." Smith said. "They focus on what the community did and the reaction of something negative that happened that ended up being huge, big and wonderful."

More than 50 families were given a week's stay at local hotels paid by community donations. Kellene Patrick and Dana McCoy, who have two kids, were one of those families but they're time is up and they have to check out.

Unlike Smith, they say they're waiting to hear back from the agency helping them and feel they're future is not as clear.

"But it's hard for me to be a mother and have the kids move from place to place," she said. "Not knowing where they're gonna be, not knowing where they're gonna lay their head down, and that's my biggest thing."

These families have lost a lot due to this fire but the one thing they say they're not losing is hope.

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