A young family with a toddler and a baby on the way were creating a life for themselves when the fire ripped them from their home and left them without shelter. A critical needs grant has paid for their deposit and first month's rent. An elderly couple undergoing chemotherapy before the fires have been living in an unheated trailer through the winter months since losing their home. A critical need grant has restored power to their property and the ability to heat their home. A father lost not only his home, but his landscaping business when his tools burned in the fire. A critical needs grant has helped him repurchase some of these tools, so he can earn an income again to support his family and rebuild his home.
Critical needs grants up to $3,000 provide the opportunity to touch people from all walks of life as they begin the rebuilding process. The focus of these grants is to remove a barrier to stable housing for at least six months, but also includes important issues such as restoring the ability to earn income or restoring transportation to get children to school or parents to work. It allows us to assist in the restoration of utilities to properties that have been destroyed and offer an avenue to give aid for disaster-related medical costs.
To date Mendocino-ROC has allocated $150,000 towards critical needs grants. These have proven to be a very real way in which we can touch peoples lives and help them on the road to recovery.
We also listen for opportunities to maximize our funds through collaboration and discounts when survivors echo a similar need. The power pole project is one such need, offering survivors the opportunity to have a temporary power pole installed to restore power and return to their property. A water tank project is now in the planning phases.
These are a snapshot of the impact critical needs grants can have through the generosity of Disaster Fund donors. Powers poles are being installed. Water tanks are coming available. Families are finding homes and restoring their businesses. Case managers have reached out to over 70% of the 370+ families that lost homes to see how we can support them.
Recovery comes in phases. In the beginning, it is the immediate response - from hotel and gas vouchers to food and clothing. Then recovery - supporting survivors as they undergo property cleanup and removing barriers to stable housing. This is where we are now. But even as we tend to the recovery needs, we must keep an eye towards the future. A delicate balance must take place between distributing funds to support survivors' recovery needs now while retaining resources to fund the rebuilding effort to come. Disaster recovery is a long-term commitment, and at five-months in we are still in the beginning stages. But through your support we have begun to pull down the barriers to recovery and lend a helping hand to our neighbors as they restore their lives.
If you or someone you know of is struggling with a fire-related road block, the Mendocino-ROC Resource Room at the Ukiah Valley Conference is staffed Monday - Thursday from 10 AM to 2 PM, or by appointment, to offer guidance and answer questions. For more information, call 621-8817 or e-mail email@example.com.