Good afternoon everyone!
As you may already know, the fire at our main office site, at 717 Portage Avenue on January 3rd has resulted in significant damage. Half of the first floor was incinerated and has been off limits to staff since the day of the fire. The smoke from the fire centred in the main floor kitchen area on the Opikihiwawin/Resources for Adolescent Parents side of the building travelled quickly through the building leaving nasty soot on EVERYTHING throughout the building.
With this, all ceiling tiles are being replaced and all soft materials (e.g., upholstery, work station walls, carpets) are being tested to see if they are salvageable with cleaning or need to be replaced. All computer equipment and other electronics are likely no longer good as this soot is corrosive and eats away at electronics over time.
Luckily, restoration experts in this type of work have been on site since January 4th and are working with amazing speed. But, given the scope of work, it is very likely we will all be working outside of this building for several to many months. We have no exact estimation of the time frame because many things have yet to be understood fully (e.g., damage to the mechanics of the building and best route to fix).
In the meantime, we immediately moved to get a mail and delivery depot at one of our buildings at 574 on Erin St. This is a small space but is serving the immediate need. We were also offered lots of help from the community, our peers and realtors/landlords among others.
To our staff, please do all that you can to continue working hard for the people we support. Not having a central site for them to come to is, and has been, difficult. Hopefully soon we will be more accessible than we are today.
I thank all the staff of 717 for their work to empty the building of their personal belongings and for being so supportive overall in managing this massive disruption.
I can only believe that New Directions will emerge, yet again, stronger and even more cohesive after living through this latest challenge that’s been thrown at us!
On we go New Directions!!
Dr. Jennifer Frain, CEO
Photo from The Winnipeg Free Press