Partner Organizations offer a range of direct support to families in need. If you were affected by the October fires and are seeking assistance, please reach out to one of our Partnering Organizations.
In the wake of the fires that have devastated so many in Northern California, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County is supporting families through a Fire Assistance Fund to support families directly impacted by the fires. In partnership with the King Ridge Foundation, the Clubs are supporting families with school aged children who lost homes or employment due to the fire through cash grants. Details and application information can be found here. Applications are accepted and funded on a rolling basis.
Jennifer Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, shared when talking about the fund, “Our organization specializes in serving those who need us the most in the communities we serve. Sadly with the recent fire disasters the number of our families who ‘need us the most’ has grown tremendously. Additionally, many families that were already struggling to get by now find themselves without housing, work, or in some cases are left with just the clothes on their backs. Now more than ever our families and community need our support, and we will be there for them.”
In response to the fires, CHD are working with KRF and Sonoma Pride to provide funds to those who rented, who were getting by – paycheck to paycheck, who were already strapped financially, who did not have the discretionary income to afford renter’s insurance and often already existed at an emotional breaking point when the fire swept through and took everything indiscriminately.CHD will provide these individuals with: money for food, replacement clothing, hygiene items (toothbrush, deodorant, over the counter medications, et cetera), gas for what is often the only vehicle in the household (if that vehicle was not destroyed), interim housing costs including deposit assistance as they begin to look for a new place to call home.To administer these funds – they use their existing Supportive Services mechanism (intake forms, need assessments, other family and community assets, et cetera) to identify and process emergency grants for those hardest hit and very much in need.
CAP have started a new fund based on their existing program for people who need immediate disaster relief housing assistance.
The Disaster Relief Housing Assistance Fund will provide: 1) Short term (three months) of rental assistance per household: up to $900 for month one, and declining in increments of $100 for the second and third month. 2) One time security deposit assistance up to $1600 per household.Rental assistance can be used for room rental, hotel rooms, apartment or home rent, RV or mobile home park rentals. Case managers will work with clients to determine the monetary need up to the limits that have been established by the fund.
Eligibility: 1) Households who lost their housing and/or source of income due to the fires. 2) Assistance must be used to reside in Sonoma County. 3) Low income families with children. 4) Households not eligible for FEMA. 5) Households who have filled out intake forms at the Local Assistance Center administered through the county.
Published Sonoma County poverty levels will be used to determine low income eligibility. Families can fill out intake forms at the Local Assistance Center if they want to apply for this assistance.
4Cs has been working with the early education community since the fires; gathering information on the impact of the disaster on both providers and consumers of child care.
In partnership with the King Ridge Foundation, 4Cs has been providing families with young children cash grants of $500 to those who have suffered a loss of home and/or hardships such as a loss of a job as a result of the fires. Priority is given to single parents.
Also funding is available to child care providers who lost their child care business in an efforts to help them reopen their businesses and to continue providing this vital service to working parents in Sonoma County.
In keeping with the mission to enhance the quality of life for our aging community by providing services that promote well-being and maintain independence, they can assist adults, age 50 and older with small grants. Their process includes the following:
Identification of potential fire fund recipients
1. They will notify their community contacts regarding the availability of funds. Their network of 15,000 includes clients, providers of services to seniors, and others with an interest in issues affecting seniors, as well as readers of Sonoma Seniors Today, their monthly newspaper.
2. They will take referrals from community partners, who have identified potential recipients that meet their specific age and income criteria.
Process and vetting of applications
1. They can quickly design a simple application process that verifies a residence within a fire-affected area, and income status (through bank statements, or other means that the applicant has available—recognizing that displacement might have resulted in document loss).
2. Applicants will briefly describe their need for assistance, providing documentation where possible, in the form of invoices, vendor estimates, links to providers of needed equipment, etc.
3. Applications will be vetted by a team of COA staff and volunteers who are familiar with fund distribution processes. Council on Aging has significant in house expertise in managing the vetting of applications and fund distribution process. CEO Marrianne McBride and Director of Aging in Community Renee Tolliver both previously held senior management positions with our local United Way, where they designed and implemented systems for local distribution of funds generated from United Way campaigns.
Dispersement of funds directly to recipients
1. Council on Aging has the fiscal systems and controls in place to provide direct payment to recipients. They routinely manage personal funds for clients, including dispersement of living expenses and bill-paying.
Staff is currently meeting hundreds of victims of these fires each day during an emergency food distribution, Station 3990, which they are hosting in their parking lot. As an Agency Partner of King Ridge Foundation and Sonoma Pride, they route those who self-identify as having lost their home or lost their employment due to the fire to visit their on-site Food Connections office to be paired with additional assistance. Their Food Connections office is fully staffed with expert resource navigators who are willing and able to identify individuals and families in the community that meet the criteria outlined by King Ridge Foundation and Sonoma Pride. These staff members help facilitate the application process, and connect our neighbors in need to a variety of resources available. The Food Connections staff will process all applications according to the agreed upon criteria and then award grants, via check, directly to the fire victim.
our Post-Fire Farm Therapy Program to (1) provide special therapeutic experiences for at least 50 First Responders from Sonoma County who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; (2) provide scholarships for up to 220 fire survivor children (general public) to attend our annual summer Animal Adventure and Education Camp, in which children foster respect, compassion and kindness towards all living being through educational, hands-on learning on the farm and Sonoma Humane Society; (3) open our farms and gardens every weekend to the families who have been displaced by the fires and (4) provide monthly workshops to staff and volunteers about trauma-related healing. The goal of our Post-Fire Farm Therapy Program is to provide fire survivors with experiences at our farm and garden so they may begin the healing process and discover ways to cope with these life-changing events.
St Vincent de Paul’s House-In- A-Box program provides new household items for families who have lost everything as a result of the fires and who are forced into situational poverty. The “House in a Box (HIB)” gives dignity to families in crisis, as it gives them a new start and a fresh start. All families receive the same new items which are packaged for efficiency of delivery. The program is scalable to the size of the family and starts at $2,500 for a family of four.