On September 9, 2022, a fire in Chinatown displaced Gain Wah, located at 218 Keefer Street in the historic Keefer Rooms building. The building also operates as a privately owned SRO, and the fire displaced all 39 tenants.
The Youth Collaborative for Chinatown has organized a fundraiser to support the owner and long-time staff of Gain Wah: Andrew Leung, Anna, and Tracy. Andrew has owned Gain Wah for over 30 years; Anna has worked at Gain Wah for over 10 years, and Tracy for over 25. Their hard work and dedication has been a pillar of our community for decades, and in these times of hardship, we are calling on you to help support.
Gain Wah has been serving affordable and authentic Chinese food for over 40 years, and is one of the few remaining legacy businesses in Chinatown offering sit-down dining. In addition to their famous curry beef brisket and other old-school Cantonese fare, Gain Wah has served as a place where people from many different backgrounds and communities can feel welcome. More than just a business, Gain Wah has been an anchor in the community and a place for people to connect to their culture and heritage. The Tyee published an article on Gain Wah in 2020.
In addition to Gain Wah, the fire in Chinatown on September 9 displaced 39 residents of the Keefer Rooms. The Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative is working with the residents to find shelter and meet other immediate needs, and has organized a fundraiser to support these efforts. The proceeds from this fundraiser will help to replace what the tenants lost in the fire and to provide the basic necessities of everyday survival.
The SRO Collaborative is working closely with the tenants and landlord to find temporary housing while the building undergoes the extensive renovations needed to recover from the September 9 fire. While the building has been deemed structurally sound, there is extensive smoke and water damage, which will take months to repair. The SRO Collaborative reports that the owner of Keefer Rooms has made a commitment that tenants who want to move back in can do so once the necessary repairs have been made. In the meantime, the 39 tenants who were displaced by the fire need support. The SRO Collaborative has organized this fundraiser to allow the wider community to contribute to these efforts. The fire in Chinatown on September 9 not only caused these tenants to lose their homes, but also many sentimental and valuable belongings.
We encourage you to support Gain Wah and the tenants of Keefer Rooms through this hardship through donations and sharing widely.