Whether a close friend or relative, a casual acquaintance, or a virtual stranger, someone you know who loses their house to a fire probably makes you feel sympathetic and wish you could do something do help. You probably can do something to help, since someone who just lost their home has a lot of urgent needs, but it's also true that if you're not careful you could end up making things even harder for them emotionally or just adding to their exhaustion. Here are three mistakes to avoid as you're trying to figure out how to help.
1. Offering something they feel like they can't accept
If you're not close to the person in question, it may be difficult to assess their needs and decide what's the best way to help. However, if you try to give them a generous gift, they may feel like they can't accept it because they don't know you very well. In this scenario, you might be better off sending it anonymously or through a closer friend. And be sure not to offer "help" that they can't accept because it won't help them at all (like offering them a place to stay without first asking if they'd have an allergic reaction to your pets).
2. Assuming you know what they need
It's true that there are some common things people will need if their house has been severely fire-damaged. A place to stay, food, clothes, and so on. But depending on the family's insurance coverage, the extent of the damage, and other variables (for example, whether they're new in the area or have a lot of relatives and friends nearby that they can stay with) these can vary considerably. And if they have specific medical needs, those could be more urgent than even new clothes. So be sure to ask what it is they need before you start sending help.
3. Letting them think that they've been forgotten
If you offer to help initially, try to remember to check in with your friend in a month or two to see if they still need help. This is especially important because most of your friend's acquaintances may offer help once or twice and then go about their lives and assume everything's okay now, when the reality is that your friend may be struggling with replacing their belongings and putting their life back together for months or even years to come. Avoiding these three mistakes will help you keep from being an additional burden when a friend or relative is facing this life-altering crisis.
For more information or assistance with fire damage, contact companies like C & Z Construction.