DeKALB – Tynisha Clegg, executive director of the Family Service Agency of DeKalb County, said her team is undergoing a “trial by fire” and needs the community’s help to raise funds as they aid more than 75 families displaced by two suspected arson fires in the past week.
Family Service Agency is hosting an open house to collect clothing, food, household, pet, baby and personal items, and other donations Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at their facility located at 14 Health Services Drive, DeKalb.
The DeKalb County Community Gardens’ Grow Mobile will be there, along with representatives from the American Red Cross and Community Coordinated Child Care.
The agency has also set up a special giving page for those wishing to make a monetary donation at www.givegab.com/campaigns/apartment-fire-relief-fund. Several donors have indicated they will provide matching contributions, Clegg said, including DeKalb 1st Ward Alderwoman Carolyn Morris, who will match up to $200.
State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, has indicated he will match up to $500, as has DeKalb-based business OC Creative.
Clegg said the agency in her time has never experienced a crisis quite this large before.
“This is huge for us,” Clegg said, adding her agency has provided services for 120 people, including children, over the past nine days.
About 200 residents were displaced between July 9 and July 11 after two suspected arsons at 808 Ridge Drive and
930 Greenbrier Road, the latter the scene of an attempted arson Tuesday.
More than a week later, residents still need assistance.
Since the fires, the agency has provided financial assistance to residents to get them back into a stable home, worked with area hotels, the community gardens, DeKalb County Housing Authority to set up vouchers for Section 8 housing, Kishwaukee United Way, 4-C and other area agencies.
“Many of the individuals just
paid their rent, and one of them just moved in three months ago,” Clegg said. “We’re trying to provide homes with security deposits, first month’s rent, and transportation. We want to make sure we’re providing that ongoing stabilization.”