For the second time in the past few months, Mainstreet, which defines itself as “a company focused on acquiring and managing mid-market rental apartment buildings primarily in Western Canada,” has offered some of those apartments up for people who are in need them.
Wednesday the company offered 100 apartments with at least three months of free rent for victims of the fire in Fort McMurray. The suites being offered are in Calgary, Edmonton or Saskatoon.
In making the announcement, Bob Dhillon, Mainstreet’s chief executive said when his company heard about the fire, “the first thing we did was look at our vacancies to see how many units we have available.”
Dhillon was equally clear that he was not being involved in “an act of charity. Assisting people and families during a natural disaster is a responsibility, one that every single person at Mainstreet is glad to accept and offer help in any way we can,” he said. Dhillon noted he was responding to appeals from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.
Late last year Dhillon, who hails from East Africa, agreed to provide 200 apartments for the Syrian refugees. To date, more than 165 units are occupied with some 700 refugees, which might make him the biggest accommodation provider to the refugees.
In 2011, Mainstreet started on this path when it offered 50 apartment suites in Edmonton to victims of the Slave Lake forest fire.