Apartment-fire victims struggling to start over again

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

After contributions poured in from the Jewish community, the two families have chairs to sit on, beds to sleep in and other donated items needed to re-establish a household, Zahler said.

The Brylovsky family, however, has been living in a motel ever since losing their two-bedroom apartment in the fire. They cannot find a landlord who will offer them a permanent lease.

"Their situation is urgent," Zahler said. "They desperately need someone to step forward with an apartment they can rent."

She vouched for the family's ability to pay a reasonable rent, with income from welfare and Victor Brylovsky's disability funds.

All three adult members of the family would like to find work, they said last month, but their limited English and patriarch Victor Brylovsky's heart condition have foiled their best intentions.

Last month, the thought of starting over once again was overwhelming for Aida Levin, who is originally from Latvia.

Levin and her 8-year-old daughter, Hannah, had lived in the three-story building at 404 20th Ave. for six years. The divorced mother worried that her daughter would have a hard time coping in school after the fire destroyed their home. The two stayed in a Richmond District motel for several weeks before finding a rental.

Levin said she plans to move back to the 20th Avenue building after the landlord rebuilds. However, that could take some time, as insurance claims need to be investigated, city permits secured and builders hired.

The Yakovlevs and their two young children were the only fire victims of the three families to immediately find permanent homes.

In addition to current JFCS efforts, a caseworker in the agency's emigre department will act as an intermediary if an interested party would extend a lease to the Brylovskys.

For information, call Ira Dayen at (415) 202-7471.