NORTH ADAMS — A building firm from Cheshire was busy at Flood House this week fixing water damage and correcting other issues in preparation for displaced residents of Louison House in Adams, which sustained water damage after a recent fire.
Geary Builders employees were inside the Church Street building, as were Louison House staff and a utility company worker checking into telephone installation.
"There was a little more water damage at Flood House than we thought and we are getting it taken care of," said Mark Farrington, board president of Family Life Support Services, the nonprofit that operates the Louison House homeless shelter.
A small fire at Louison House homeless shelter on Old Columbia Street last month left 14 residents without a place to stay. Most residents were immediately placed in a Howard Johnson motel in Williamstown but that placement ended on July 1. Since that time, residents have stayed at another Williamstown motel, Farrington and Louison House supervisor Tracy Beany said.
The costs are mounting as motel bills must be paid and additional expenses must be met, Farrington said. Insurance revenues have paid for some new furniture but Louison House officials dipped into its funds to purchase new items as well.
"There was a lot of water damage at Louison House," he said. "We are still trying to get the place dried out so that we can fully assess the damage."
Large fans are being used throughout the Adams-based shelter as part of the drying process. Humid, hot weather acts as a deterrent to the drying process and mold will likely be a factor in any renovation, Adams Building Inspector Donald Toricco has said. The drying process is taking longer than expected, which in turn means renovations and repairs will go on for longer than initially believed.
"I have to say, the community has been great," Farrington said.
Displaced residents are grateful for motel space but are eager to resume a structured, routine lifestyle such as they experienced at Louison House. The families and individuals are looking forward to moving into Flood House and will be happier when they can return to Louison House. Farrington said.
Area entities have helped with food donations, Beany said, and she thanked those who have donated food items.
Farrington said the expectation is to have residents in Flood House within a week.
The long-term plan is for Louison House to resume operations as a temporary shelter and Flood House to become permanent housing. The city's Housing Authority Board approved a temporary emergency least last week, opening the doors for building use as a temporary shelter. The support center purchased Flood House from the housing authority in 2015 for $1.