Ryan Smith of PuroClean removes remnants of water-soaked sheetrock as clean up continues at the Committee on Temporary Shelter’s (COTS) Daystation in Burlington on Thursday. The drop-in center for the homeless was heavily damaged from flooding in the aftermath of a severe thunderstorm on July 4th. / GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS
Matt Ryan, Free Press Staff Writer – July 13, 2012
While workers gut the flooded interior of the Committee on Temporary Shelter’s Daystation, members of the Burlington nonprofit are scrambling to raise funds and provide services elsewhere.
Roughly 50 to 60 clients dropped into the Daystation daily to eat lunch, get their mail and contact prospective employers and landlords. A week ago, heavy rain swamped the basement-level shelter, displacing staff and clients and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
The fast storm that roared through on the Fourth of July knocked over trees, flooded one of Burlington’s busiest intersections and left some 5,000 utility customers without power.
Water rushed downhill and collected around the Committee on Temporary
Shelter facility at the corner of South Winooski Avenue and King Street. The
water level climbed more than 3 feet outside the building and poured inside.
Since then, COTS has continued to provide the Daystation’s services in the building’s second story, where caseworkers meet with clients, and where its overflow shelter on St. Paul Street is housed, said Becky Holt, COTS spokeswoman.
“We’re just kind of hobbling together the spaces,” Holt said.
The rainwater destroyed at least $45,000 worth of computers, appliances and furniture, Holt said. She said COTS had “minimal insurance” and hopes to raise $30,000 to help cover the cost. As of Thursday, the nonprofit had raised about $10,000 she said.
“We have this amazing community,” Holt said. “People are rallying and asking how they can help.”
COTS welcomes volunteers who want to prepare lunch, but has left the cleanup to the professionals, because the rainwater swept sewage into the building, Holt said.
Demolition of the Daystation continued Thursday. Workers had swept up most of the debris and cut the Sheetrock walls about three feet from the floor, exposing the wood and metal studs underneath.
The shelter will remain inhabitable for several weeks, Holt said.
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