British Columbia

Residents of devastating Surrey apartment fire still looking for housing

Surrey City Councillor Bruce Hayes says 16 families from the fire-ravaged Celeste apartment complex are still looking for replacement housing.

The Celeste apartment fire displaced up to 100 residents a week ago

Surrey City Councillor Bruce Hayes says 16 families are still looking for replacement housing after the August 21 fire at the Celeste apartment building. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

One week after a massive apartment fire displaced up to 100 residents in Surrey, Councillor Bruce Hayne says residents are struggling to find a place to live.

"It's a very difficult housing market as you can appreciate," said Hayne, speaking with Rick Cluff on CBC's The Early Edition.

"There are 16 families that are still looking for housing."

Many of the families have secured medium-term housing, Hayne said, relying on the generosity of friends and family.

However, he said, it's difficult for many of the families to find housing in the same area especially since rental vacancies are low at this time of year and because it is the first of the month.

"It's difficult to find accommodations with such short notice."

Surrey Councillor Bruce Hayes says many residents are relying on friends and family to find accommodation in this low vacancy market. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

However, the community is still rallying around the families.

Although emergency funding from the province will end today, Hayne said the Red Cross would step in to provide support to 11 families that will continue to need it.

He said the Red Cross and the Surrey Fire Department will also help families retrieve some belongings — including cars parked in the garage — starting today.

Hayne said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, although a preliminary theory is that it started on a balcony from a cigarette.

With files from The Early Edition

To hear the interview, click on the link labelled Councillor Bruce Hayne with an update on the Surrey apartment fire