Griggs Farm fire update: Rebuilding could take at least 10 months

The reconstruction of the apartment complex at Griggs Farm that burned down about six weeks ago could take 10 to 12 months, representatives from Princeton Community Housing said this week.

Donations by local residents increased Princeton Community Housing’s resources to lengthen the term of emergency housing for the 35 displaced fire victims and to provide other items. An anonymous Princeton couple donated $36,000 for a “matching challenge” in January. More than 180 donors made contributions ranging from $10 to $5,000, to reach the challenge goal.

An elderly woman died in the accidental fire on the night of Dec. 27. Officials believe the fire was started by candles that were burning in the bedroom of one of the apartment units.

Princeton Community Housing has distributed gift cards, clothing, food, and money given via the Send Hunger Packing Princeton GoFundMe drive to residents. Volunteers also have helped residents sort through and dispose of personal belongings damaged during the fire.

While some displaced residents have been staying with family or friends, Princeton Community Housing has been voluntarily paying for emergency housing for the remaining majority at an extended stay hotel on Route 1 in Plainsboro. Princeton Community Housing has been working to find housing for the next year for all 34 displaced residents who lived in the affordable housing units.

Princeton Community Housing is still trying to identify potential housing resources so that households can maintain school, employment and other community ties. Some of the renters did not have renter’s insurance. While some individuals and community organizations have stepped forward with housing opportunities, finding affordable local residences has been extremely challenging, representatives of Princeton Community Housing said.

If you know of housing options in the Princeton area, contact Princeton Community Housing at 609-924-3822. The nonprofit is still seeking donors and community organizations to provide temporary housing rental assistance on behalf of the households that do not have renter’s insurance, government resources, or other resources available to bridge the gap between the rent they paid at Griggs Farm and the rent they will pay at temporary housing locations. You can make a tax-deductible gift to the Griggs Farm Fire Relief Fund to help with temporary housing online here.