Napa Valley Community Foundation has launched a pop-up recovery center to help individuals and families affected by the Napa wildfires in October.
The Napa Fire Recovery Center is help for those who were made homeless as a result of the wildfires, predominantly uninsured renters, find housing.
It also will provide financial assistance to people who may not have lost their homes, but have nonetheless encountered economic hardship because of the temporary slow-down of the viticulture and hospitality economy in the region.
Help for finding housing and financial assistance are available to individuals who live or work in Napa County; earn up to 120 percent of area median income; and have not received sufficient support from private insurance, government aid programs or other sources, the foundation said.
The area median income is $63,700 for a single person. For a four-person household, it’s $91,000.
To qualify for help, people will be asked to provide documents to substantiate their fire-related losses, such as proof of residency at a home or apartment that appears on the county’s list of red-tagged properties.
The Napa Fire Recovery Center – at 3299 Claremont Way, Suite 8, in Napa – is funded by 20,000 donors across the country, each of whom has contributed to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund managed by NVCF in recent months, the foundation said in a news release.
The center is staffed by three nonprofit organizations with expertise in offering housing, case management and individual assistance programs. Abode Services and On the Move are housed in the Claremont Way location, and Up Valley Family Centers is operating a satellite branch of the center at its established sites in Calistoga and St. Helena.
Fire survivors in need of assistance can schedule an appointment by calling (707) 363-8390, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Napa Fire Recovery Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will operate until June 30, unless changing circumstances warrant otherwise.
“This is a storefront operation I wish our community didn’t need, but the fact is, we need it,” said NVCF President Terence Mulligan. “In Napa Valley, too many people are still struggling to find their way back to some semblance of normalcy, post-fires – even though the last flames were doused three months ago.”
The December exit of government disaster aid programs, the seasonal drop in visitors to the valley, and the pressure placed on an already crowded rental market by residents using private insurance proceeds to snap up available properties in Napa County have sharpened NVCF’s focus on helping those who need it find housing and financial assistance, he said.
“The Napa Fire Center is a collaborative effort, and our goal is to make an often difficult process as seamless as possible for those who still need help,” said Alissa Abdo, executive director of On the Move.
She noted that other services were likely join the center over time, such as mental health counseling and legal assistance. The nonprofits staffing the center will coordinate their financial assistance programs with other charitable groups in the Napa Valley involved in distributing cash aid to fire survivors, to ensure equity and avoid duplication of benefits.
The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is managed by Napa Valley Community Foundation and was established with a $10 million lead gift from Napa Valley Vintners following the 2014 South Napa Earthquake. After all phases of quake-related relief, recovery and rebuilding programs concluded in 2016, the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund had a balance of approximately $2.5 million, which was the starting point for current relief and recovery efforts for the Napa wildfires.
Since the fund was re-activated on Oct. 10, nearly $14 million has been contributed by 20,000 individual, corporate and foundation donors in California, the U.S. and abroad. Growers and vintners in Napa Valley have contributed significantly to assist those affected by the October wildfires, and their generosity has inspired their many friends, customers and partners to get involved, as well.
Thus far, $4 million has been distributed from the fund to provide 15,000 fire survivors with services and nearly 1,900 households with direct cash assistance. The most recent grant approved by the fund, of up to $3 million, will support the Napa Fire Recovery Center and its clients.