News Article Details

Nonprofit seeks help finding new home

The Citizens' Voice - 7/18/2018

July 18--WILKES-BARRE TWP. -- A local nonprofit group is seeking assistance after its offices were severely damaged by the tornado that struck a major shopping center last month.

In the aftermath of the June 13 tornado, Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere is seeking reduced-rent office space as a result of extensive damage at the building it occupied at 275 Mundy St.

Because of the group's nonprofit status, building owner Robert Tambur rented the space at a "very, very reduced" rate, SAFE Executive Director Eileen Perchak said Tuesday. However, the extensive roof damage the building sustained in the twister means the group has had to stop working from the location, and must clear out its belongings by the end of September, she said.

"We're working off of my dining room table," Perchak said. "We have been very fortunate. The Graham Academy is a big sponsor of us. They have given us temporary space at this point ... But we can only stay there until mid-August, because then their school starts back up."

Ed Williamson, an insurance adjuster representing Tambur's company TFP Limited in its claim, said the building's roof "peeled back" during the tornado, resulting in extensive water damage.

"It took so much water on, so what happened is all the drywall got wet," Williamson said, adding the business then hired a contractor to remove the drywall to prevent mold growth. "The whole second floor has been totally gutted."

As of Tuesday, only two businesses remained in the building, and they were both clearing out, he said.

One of them was Latona Law. Attorney Carmen J. Latona Jr. said the firm's files were all safe and backed up, and the firm is in the process of relocating to the Jewelcor Center in Wilkes-Barre.

Williamson said TFP is clearing out the building because officials don't yet know how long it will take to renovate. The building is old and will require an elevator and other upgrades to bring it up to code, and it was not clear whether insurance would cover the needed improvements, he said.

"It needs a lot of work," Williamson said. "It could be a long period of time. But yes, we're going to try to renovate it, depending on what the (township) says."

As for SAFE, Perchak said the organization is seeking donations or new office space at a discounted rate.

"We are privately funded," Perchak said. "We do not get any federal or state funding. We do all of our own fundraising (and rely on) the generosity of the community."

Anyone wishing to contribute is asked to call 570-822-7259.

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