A Sikh-owned Canadian real estate agency has offered use of 100 apartments, rent-free for three months, to victims of the devastating fire which has created a state of emergency in Fort McMurray.
Alberta-based Mainstreet Equity made the suites available in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon after CEO Bob Dhillon saw that many residents were left displaced, having been forced to leave their homes following the destruction caused by the wildfire.
“When we heard about the fire in Fort McMurray, the first thing we did was look at our vacancies to see how many units we have available,” said Dhillon. “I hope the rest of Canada will join us in helping the citizens of Fort McMurray who are in need of assistance.”
He added that the firm is is responding to appeals from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley for Canadians to help the victims
“We do not consider this an act of charity. Assisting people and families during a natural disaster is a responsibility, one that every single person at Mainstreet is glad to accept and offer help in any way we can,” added Dhillon.
The concept of seva (selfelss service) is a major part of the Sikh faith, with all followers expected to participate in some form of charity/voluntary work.
The Canadian real estate firm has a history of providing shelter to the displaced. In 2011, it offered the use of 50 apartment suites in Edmonton to victims of the Slave Lake forest fire in Alberta. It also recently offered use of 200 apartments in Western Canada for Syrian refugees. The estate agency said that to date, more than 165 of its units are occupied by around 700 refugees.
“When Syrian refugees needed accommodation last year, Mainstreet offered help. Today, the people of Fort McMurray need our help, right here in the headland of Alberta,” added Dhillon.
Earlier this week, three semi trucks full of donations, collected by the members of Vancouver’s Sikh community, were sent to Edmonton to help with the relief effort.