As communities in Calistoga and St. Helena begin returning home, the UpValley Family Centers is continuing to provide direct relief to meet the immediate needs of households impacted by the Glass Fire. Services include emergency aid to help cover the cost of food, gas, and household essentials; up-to-date information in English and Spanish; assistance with unemployment applications; and connections to other relief resources. People seeking assistance can call the UpValley Family Centers at (707) 363-8390 or (707) 277-22721 or email email@example.com.
The Glass Fire is the second major firestorm in less than two months to hit Napa County’s remote Upvalley regions, impacting communities already reeling from the deep economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Over 12,000 individuals were displaced due to evacuation orders and/or unhealthy air quality, and over 2,100 structures are estimated to be lost or damaged, including both residences and places of business. Having struck the geographic and economic heart of our communities, the impact of this fire is likely to be extensive and long term.
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UpValley Family Centers acts as a designated “second responder” in case of disaster, working closely with the Napa Valley Coalition of Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) and other partners to ensure that countywide emergency response and relief programs address the needs of vulnerable, isolated communities. The Family Centers provide a critical and trusted connection point where Upvalley residents can access both immediate assistance and recovery support. Since March, UVFC has been providing resources and aid to households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; when the LNU Lightning Complex fires struck in August, the organization re-mobilized its fire response services as well.
UpValley Family Centers was itself directly impacted by the Glass Fire: two-thirds of its staff were displaced. Its offices, located within evacuation zones, were unable to open last week, and power outages briefly interrupted its main phone line. However, staff were able to continue providing services remotely. Two cell phones were activated to provide a temporary contact point, and Family Centers case managers nimbly deployed the phone-based service delivery systems put into place during COVID-19 to provide aid to evacuees. A team of staff members was temporarily stationed at Cope Family Center in the City of Napa, working in partnership with the Napa Valley COAD and other Family Resource Centers to distribute gift cards and provide immediate support to displaced households and individuals.
“We have a twenty-year track record of trusted service to upvalley residents, and we’re often the first port of call for households experiencing a crisis,” said Jenny Ocón, Executive Director of the UpValley Family Centers. “A lot of working families in our community have been facing hardship since March, and have no reserves left to weather this disaster – especially those who aren’t eligible for federal relief resources like unemployment. Policy change is certainly needed to ensure more equitable access to government assistance programs, but in the meantime, UpValley Family Centers is here to provide a lifeline in the form of financial aid, accurate information, and connections to other resources. We are a part of this community, and we are here for the long term, committed to supporting our neighbors’ full recovery.”
With evacuation orders now lifted, UpValley Family Centers staff are once again working from its offices in St. Helena and Calistoga. Services provided include gift card aid to help meet immediate needs, up-to-date information in English and Spanish, assistance with unemployment applications, and connections to other relief resources. The Family Centers is also coordinating with partners to provide additional services: the organization is providing support to the food distribution in Calistoga, together with Adventist Health St. Helena, World Central Kitchen, and the Napa Food Bank. UVFC is also working closely with local school districts to support students’ return to school.
To protect staff and community from COVID-19, UVFC offices remain open by appointment only; anyone in need of assistance is encouraged to call (707) 965-5010 to speak with a staff member or leave a message, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Family Centers is currently experiencing a high volume of calls, but all inquiries will be returned in the order in which they were received.
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