Recovery continues to move forward, after the October 2017 wildfires ravaged parts of Northern California just over six months ago.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and FEMA along with a number of other state and federal agencies, have been working closely together to provide assistance and resources to survivors affected by the wildfires.
Since the Oct. 10 disaster declaration, nearly 4,500 households have been approved for FEMA individual assistance, for a total of more than $15.8 million. The U.S. Small Business Administration has also approved nearly 1,200 loans for homeowners, renters and businesses for more than $151.9 million.
Shortly after the wildfires, FEMA, Cal OES and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started working together with Mendocino County on an innovative arrangement to expand and upgrade Kyen Campground at Lake Mendocino to provide short-term housing for survivors. Lake Mendocino, formed with the construction of the Coyote Valley Dam in 1958, is the largest reservoir in Mendocino County and provides flood risk reduction, water resource management and recreational opportunities to improve the quality of life for the public.
FEMA and the county were given a lease for the campground at no cost and construction began at the end of February. A number of infrastructure improvements were made to make the location ready for interim use by survivors, including upgrades to electrical, water, and wastewater distribution systems. The Kyen Campground location will now provide short-term housing for more than 20 families that have been relocated from a previous location at Redwood Empire Fairgrounds.
Currently, roughly 230 families are being housed in a FEMA-provided housing option such as an RV (travel trailers and fifth wheels), Manufactured Housing Unit (MHUs), or direct lease of apartments. In this disaster, as in most, the vast majority of survivors have found their own housing solution. For the relatively small number of people who were unable to do so, a direct housing resource was a potential option for eligible survivors. These resources are throughout multiple locations in Northern California.
The completion of the new site and move for the families comes after all survivors that were found eligible for direct housing, now having an interim housing solution.