A portion of Children’s Inn at NIH reopened to families on Friday, but help is still needed.
Repairs are continuing and the nonprofit is renting temporary housing for families that remain displaced, CEO Jennie Lucca said in a letter to supporters.
The Children’s Inn is posting updates on the emergency closure on their website and has created an Amazon wish list for items to support the families, in addition to an emergency fund.
Donors are asked to consider providing a catered lunch or breakfast, or dropping off gift cards for local grocery stores. The inn is accepting gift bags with bottled water and healthy snacks and paper products for meals.
A portion of the inn was closed early Tuesday morning, when a night manager heard a noise in the inn’s bistro and found a crack in the ceiling, according to Brad Moss, communication director at the Office of Research Facilities at NIH.
No one was in the bistro at the time and the area was immediately secured.
The bistro and other parts of the building were closed off after the roof was found to be sagging. The roof did not collapse.
The Children’s Inn houses more than 1,700 children and their families from across the United States and the world every year.
The inn is a nonprofit hospitality house that provides free lodging and supportive services to families of children and young adults with rare or critical illnesses whose best and often only option is a clinical trial at NIH, according to the organization.
About 50 people were staying at the facility when it was closed.
Twenty-three resident rooms in the E-wing were reopened Friday, according to Lucca’s letter. The inn’s staff is also working in that area, where family meals are also being served. The Children’s Inn also has five community apartments and is looking into temporarily leasing additional apartments.
The Inn’s most urgent need is help covering the cost of temporary housing and meals for displaced families, Lucca’s letter said.
All families have been able to continue with their medical appointments at the NIH Clinical Center.
The emergency closure coincided with the start of major planned remodeling work on the roof, windows and other parts of the Inn’s buildings, said Moss. As patients return, any additional repairs to the structural damage will move forward along with the planned construction on the building, Moss said.
Montgomery County fire officials said Tuesday that the sagging of the roof was the result of construction materials that had been placed there.