Boston Chinese Evangelical Church Provides Temporary Housing for Chinatown Fire Victims


Pastor Daniel Chan talks with the fire victims

Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC) opened its facility at 120 Shawmut Avenue on Oct. 23 to victims of a recent fire at 84 and 86 Harrison Avenue in Chinatown. The 40 displaced residents are occupying 18 rooms at the church building, which was the former location of the South Cove Manor nursing home.  They reside on the top floor while the church is renovating the first floor of the building. In addition to the rooms, the residents have access to a common and dining area.

Since the residents moved from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association to the church facility, church members have volunteered around the clock to provide overnight watch, cook meals, interpret for the residents’ social welfare needs, and help complete housing applications. Many others in the community have also helped. BCEC is working with the Boston Department of Neighborhood Development and will house these residents until they can move back or find other housing.

Mr. Ming Hua Lin 林明華 emigrated from China lived in 84 Harrison Avenue with his daughter and son in-law. He told one of the church members: “We were really scared when we heard the fire alarm. We saw smoke everywhere as we were running out. We left everything behind.  The uncertainty of what will happen put a lot of stress on us, especially my daughter who is 5 months pregnant. We worry day and night.” Mr. Lin works in Chinatown and has to get to work very early in the morning. He added: “We are thankful that the church is letting us stay here. I can still go to work easily. People are very nice here. They have provided a lot. In addition to providing breakfast and dinner, they also help us in searching for permanent home.”

“Although we are saddened by the tragedy, we are thankful that God has provided us the space and the necessary resources to help the displaced victims. Jesus taught us in the parable of the Good Samaritan to be ready and willing to help those in need.  We want them to have a stable and comfortable place to stay while they are displaced,” said BCEC Senior Pastor Steven Chin. “BCEC was started by immigrants to the city and has been the spiritual home for new immigrants and their families for over 50 years. We are glad that we can also be the temporary home for these victims; most are new immigrants to this country. Our church also offers many programs that will extend beyond the temporary relief, but can continue to provide assistance as they settle in Boston.”