by Stephen Dafoe
The children smile. It’s what you do when someone takes your photo. But parents Jonathan and Sandee Aviles’ faces more openly show the pain of the ordeal they have been through the past few days since their new rental home burned, destroying virtually everything they had built over the past seven years.
A few days after moving into the new place, a fire destroyed the home, leaving the five family members in a hotel room in St. Albert where they were provided with a short stay of emergency relief.
But now that stay is nearing an end, and the couple has yet to find a home to rent for themselves, the three children, and their two dogs.
“I tell people I’m a tough guy and that I’ve been through a lot,” Aviles said. “I grew up in New York all my life. We were not prepared to lose everything and start all over.”
Aviles said he has always worked hard to support his family, and although he said the family did not have a lot and lived pay cheque to pay cheque to try and get ahead like many families, the loss was a shock.
“We weren’t rich by any means,” he said. “But to see it all taken away in less than 30 minutes – I don’t even know if it has all set in yet because I haven’t had time to think about it. I’m taking care of my wife and my kids. It’s still in the back of my head that it’s just all gone.”
Aviles said what his family owned may seem like little to some, but it represented seven years of building a life in Canada.
Now the family will rebuild that life, but the first step is finding a permanent roof over their heads, hopefully in Morinville, but definitely in the surrounding area.
The couple needs a three bedroom home, one for the two daughters to share, one for their son, and one for the couple themselves.
Aviles said they need to find a rental home in the $1200 to $1500 per month range, and one willing to allow for two medium-sized dogs.
Although community support agencies in Morinville and Gibbons have reached out to help the family, they are also in need of cash and gift cards for food presently.
As the couple did not have content insurance, Sandee Aviles sister has also set up a Go Fund Me page to help the couple reestablish once they find a new home.
The family is appreciative of the support they have already received.
“We’ve lived in this town a long time, and we’ve seen the support that has been given,” Aviles said. “You never think it’s going to happen to you. You see and hear about it every day. You just never think it’s going to happen to me. Now you are sitting here, and it definitely can.”
Anyone with information on rental accommodations can contact the Morinville News by email and we will pass the information on to the family or you can email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.