Our community suffered a terrible tragedy on December 27 when a fire ravaged a 24-unit apartment building we own at Griggs Farm. We mourn the loss of one life.

We are immensely grateful to all the first responders, including Princeton fire and rescue personnel, for preventing further tragedy and helping people to safety. We also gratefully acknowledge the municipality of Princeton for its ongoing support and for providing immediate transport and shelter for the victims at the Nassau Inn on Wednesday night. Thank you to Bob Gregory (director of emergency management), Elisa Neira (executive director of human services), and others for their assistance and support.

We have been working closely with the 34 displaced residents to help address their needs. PCH is providing temporary housing and some meals at a local extended stay hotel for the 24 displaced residents who could not secure housing with friends or relatives. A daily breakfast is provided at the hotel, along with three light dinners per week. In addition, kitchens are available in the suites there, so residents will be able to cook meals.

The Princeton community has already rallied to our displaced residents’ support in a variety of sincere and spontaneous ways. We are coordinating with community organizations in several efforts for household donations and other fundraising. These include the donation site at Trinity Church (33 Mercer Street) for blankets, clothing, shoes, new toiletries, universal gift cards, and non-perishable food.

Because the damage from the fire is significant, it is expected that the reconstruction of the building at Billie Ellis Lane may take several months. We are thus asking all our neighbors, friends, and supporters to help us provide temporary housing for our renters during the reconstruction period and to assist the displaced residents with other immediate and ongoing needs. This includes assistance for those who have found temporary housing with friends or relatives but still need other support due to their displacement.

To this end, Princeton Community Housing has created the “Griggs Farm Fire Relief Fund” to aid all those displaced. Donations may be sent to Princeton Community Housing, One Monument Drive, Lower Level, Princeton 08540. Please make your check payable to Princeton Community Housing and note “Griggs Farm Fire Relief Fund” on the memo line.

You can also donate securely and immediately via credit card at princetoncommunityhousing.org. Gifts to PCH are tax-deductible, as PCH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. An anonymous donor has agreed to match gifts dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $36,000.

We are profoundly grateful for anything and all that you can do to help our displaced residents while we work as quickly and efficiently as possible to restore them to their homes.

Princeton has a big heart: we know we can get through this tragedy together, with your support. Many thanks from all of us.

Edward Truscelli

Executive Director, Princeton Community Housing Development Corporation

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