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Helping Homeless Tornado Victims

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)– Community activists held a rally on Monday at Springfield’s Court Square to call attention to the plight of homeless tornado victims.

One of those homes was Irene Malave and her family, “Out of the blue, my windows started shattering, my kids were all in their rooms, I had to get my son out of the playpen,” says Malave. 

Malave and her family are living in a temporary shelter at the Mass Mutual Center.

“There is no going back home,” says Malave. “The building is no longer there, it’s been torn down, two days after the tornado hit,” says Malave.

Community organizers rallied to send a message says Lara Shepard-Blue, “We’re trying to figure out creative solutions to insure that people staying at the shelter who are not people of means, that they found other places to live. We need to keep the community together and we need to find affordable housing solutions,” says  Lara Shepard-Blue.

Organizers at the rally say the difficult housing market for the poor has been made even more difficult because of the tornadoes that swept through Western Massachusetts on June 1st.

Former Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate Grace Ross was among those calling for a community commitment to open the doors for tornado victims. “All of our neighbors count, nobody is made homeless and left homeless because we can’t find the political will to make sure rents are affordable to make sure there are enough units available,” says Ross.

Meanwhile, it looks like Irene Malave and her family are finally getting some good news. “Right now I’ve found a three bedroom apartment, I had all the papers done. I’m just waiting for the inspection to be done and I can move in,” says Malave.

More than 500 people were displaced by the tornadoes. There are still some 160 left at the Mass Mutual Center.

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