Category Archives: Fire Main

Additional resources available for Thomas Fire and flood victims

The Economic Development Collaborative–Ventura County’s special services coordinator, Clare Briglio, has announced additional resources now available for businesses recovering from the impact of the Thomas Fire and subsequent floods and mudslides.

“New federal declarations have secured additional resources for those who have suffered personal and/or business injury as a result of the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides and floods,” explained Briglio. For direct in-person assistance in filing with FEMA or the SBA, please visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area. In addition, EDC-VC has compiled an online list of resources at http://edc-vc.com/disaster-recovery-services/.”

To access available federal fire and flood relief resources, people should follow this three-step process:

Step 1: Registration with FEMA- Clients who have been impacted by the Thomas Fire and subsequent flood and are interested in government assistance should apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Note: The filing deadline to return FEMA applications for property damage is March 16, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Oct. 15, 2018.

Step 2: Registration with the SBA for low-interest loans- Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries. This includes Economic Injury Disaster loans for businesses that may or may not have sustained any damage, but have experienced a downturn in business because of the disaster. The SBA customer service center is also available to answer questions at 1-800-659-2955. Applicants may also come in to a Local Recovery Center (LRC) for person-to-person assistance in completing their applications. For further information, visit SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster.

Step 3: Registration with EDD for unemployment benefits-  Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are now available for workers, business owners and self-employed individuals who lost their jobs or had their work hours substantially reduced as a result of the wildfires and associated flooding, mudslides and debris flows in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Those affected are encourages to apply online at https://eapply4ui.edd.ca.gov/, by calling 1-800-300-5616 (English) 1-800-326-8937 (Spanish) or by visiting a Local Recovery Center.

Local Recovery Centers (LRC) - Two Disaster Recovery Centers are now open locally for personal and business assistance. Representatives from FEMA, SBA, OES and other agencies will be present to provide information and resources for economic and personal injury due to the Thomas Fire and subsequent floods. Locations are as follows:

Santa Barbara  Calvary Chapel

1 N Calle Cesar Chavez #21

Monday-Friday 11-6:30

Saturday 10-2 pm

 

Ventura County Credit Union

6026 Telephone Rd

Monday-Wednesday 9-4pm

Thursday/Friday 9-5pm

Saturday 9-1 pm

EDC-VC is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as a business-to-government liaison to assist businesses in Ventura County by offering programs that enhance the economic vitality of the region. For more information about the Small Business Development Center, loan programs, manufacturing outreach and international trade program, or other services available to small businesses through EDC-VC, contact Bruce Stenslie at 384-1800 ext. 24 or bruce.stenslie@edc-vc.com. Or visit www.edc-vc.com.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner temporarily increases service to Santa Barbara County

The Amtrak® Pacific Surfliner® will temporarily increase train service to Santa Barbara County beginning Saturday, January 20, 2018, by adding one additional roundtrip between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to help accommodate travel demand during the continued closure of Highway 101.

Since train tracks reopened on Thursday, January 11, 2018, following the devastating mudslides near Montecito, the Pacific Surfliner has served as the only viable ground transportation option for thousands of people between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In response to the unprecedented demand for train travel in the area, 15 additional railcars were secured from throughout the state to add more than 2,000 seats to the 10 daily Pacific Surfliner trains serving Santa Barbara County.

Even with the additional railcars, which have been operating since Sunday, January 14, Pacific Surfliner trains remain extremely busy, with demand exceeding available seating capacity on many trains. The added roundtrip will supplement the existing Pacific Surfliner service by adding nearly 1,000 more seats and providing an additional travel option into Santa Barbara County until the reopening of Highway 101.

To book travel and receive service updates, visit www.pacificsurfliner.com and follow @PacSurfliners on Twitter. You can also call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or use the Amtrak app.

A community coming together with Thomas Fire fundraisers

Even vehicles will need to be replaced.

The Thomas Fire Fund is a coalition of the United Way, the Red Cross and the Sheriff’s Department. 100% of the funds go directly to those affected by the Thomas Fire. For more information visit http://www.unitedwayla.org/ventura_county_thomas_fire

January is National Mentoring Month, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County (BBSVC) is celebrating with some very special events and activities, with a message of volunteerism and thanking First Responders in Ventura County.

All month long, Bigs and Littles will be creating handmade thank-you cards for Ventura County’s First Responders. Bigs and Littles will have the opportunity to present these cards to our local heroes at a special First Responders Lunch on Sunday, January 21st, at the Vagabond Coffee Shop on Thompson. And they will pull free raffle prizes for those First Responders in attendance, which include gifts like tickets to Disneyland!

Thomas Fire Benefit Concert at Discovery Ventura, Friday January 19.

The Concert features The Delgado Brothers, Teresa James and The Rhythm Tramps, The Guy Martin Band and Ray Jaurique and The Uptown Brothers, hosted by Lillian Schwartz, and Ventura’s own, Ashford Gordon and one of Southern California’s favorite comediennes, Denise Carter.

100 % of the net box office funds raised will go to Ventura County FOOD Share food bank as well as the United Way Thomas Fire Fund and the Red Cross Thomas Fire Fund who have partnered with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. Doors will open at 6 PM with Ray Jaurique and The Uptown Brothers scheduled to open at 7 PM.

A free diamond necklace to anyone who lost their home due to the Thomas Fire. To claim they only need to show their ID at Fox Fine Jewelry. There are three necklaces to select from. All necklaces were designed by Fox Fine Jewelry. See ad in this issue for more information.

Ventura Harbor Comedy Club is offering Comic Relief in the form of free admission to victims of the Thomas fire, firefighters and their families and first responders. This offer will last until the end of March, and will be good for all show except for “Special Events. This offer will be on the honor system. Just mention the offer over the phone, or at the box office, and identify yourself as someone affected by the fire, or a firefighter, or first responder, or a family member of a firefighter or first responder, and you will be admitted with no cover charge no questions asked.

Reservation line is 644-1500.

Long beloved for its sense of community and ‘give back’ spirit, Spencer Makenzie’s is planning an ongoing fundraiser for the family of firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, who tragically lost his life fighting the Thomas Fire. The San Diego resident is survived by his wife, Ashley, who is expecting a second child in the spring, as well as a two year old daughter.

Spencer Makenzie’s will donate fifty cents of every bottle sold of their most popular hot sauce, Sweet Chili Fire, into a fund that will be turned over to the family after December 31, 2018. Interested parties can find the hot sauce at Spencer Makenzie’s as well as online.

Thomas Fire Benefit Festival on Saturday, February 3 in Plaza Park with outstanding entertainers and more. See the ad and article in this issue for more information.

Sign up for no-cost CalRecycle fire debris removal program

The deadline is approaching for residents affected by the Thomas Fire to sign up by filing Right-of-Entry forms for no-cost debris removal services from CalRecycle for severely damaged or destroyed property. Through this program, all the work is undertaken by CalRecycle contractors and there is no direct cost to the property owner; however, where applicable, insurance proceeds for debris removal shall be dedicated to offset costs.

“This is an extraordinary benefit for property owners who have suffered devastating losses,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. The program is funded through a combination of federal, state, city and county funds.

The CalRecycle program includes the removal of all burnt debris, foundations, dangerous trees, and contaminated soil. The program also includes soil testing before and after the debris removal to ensure the site is clean and safe for building. In addition, air samples are taken during the debris removal process to protect neighboring properties from hazardous dust and air contaminants.

Fire victims are strongly encouraged to complete and submit a Right-of-Entry form before the January 22, 2018 deadline. Forms are available at venturacountyrecovers.org, the County Government Center, Ventura City Hall, and the Debris Removal Operations Center (DROC). The DROC is located at 290 Maple Court, Suite 120. The County Government Center is located at 800 South Victoria Avenue.

The County Environmental Health Division has a special counter at the County Government Center to assist property owners and accept completed Right-of-Entry forms. Property owners unable to go to the Government Center can submit their Right-of-Entry forms and other paperwork by email at EHDThomasfire@ventura.org. Email submittals may take longer to process.

Todd Thalhamer, CalRecycle senior solid waste engineer said, “Our goal is to assist the county in its efforts to clean up the damaged properties and return their communities back to their residents as soon as possible. The sooner residents enroll in the program, the sooner I can bring in additional crews to accomplish that.”

Both the County Government Center and the DROC are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The DROC is also open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. if residents have questions.

Additional information meetings set in Ventura for CalRecycle debris removal services

Two additional informational meetings have been scheduled in Ventura for residents in the city of Ventura and the unincorporated areas of the county affected by the Thomas Fire who are seeking debris removal services from CalRecycle for severely damaged or destroyed property. The information to be presented in these meetings is identical, so residents can attend the most convenient meeting for them.

The meetings will be held:

Saturday, January 13, at 11:00 a.m.
Ventura Baptist Church
5415 Ralston Street, Ventura.

Tuesday, January 16, at 6:00 p.m.
Ventura Baptist Church
5415 Ralston Street, Ventura.

At the meetings, residents will hear information from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) about the second phase of the debris removal. After the presentation, representatives from CalRecycle and CalOES will be available for breakout sessions with residents to answer individual questions. Spanish translators and sign language interpreters will be available at both meetings.

CalRecycle teams are already out in neighborhoods visiting residents who have signed up for the program and submitted their Right-of-Entry forms. The actual removal of debris from those properties will begin very soon. And, CalRecycle will continue to add debris removal teams as the number of program participants increases.

There is no cost to the property owner for this phase of the work, however residents will need to provide right-of-entry (ROE) forms, insurance information and other important paperwork to allow the clean up their property. It is strongly suggested that residents sign up for this service as soon as possible and submit the proper paperwork to facilitate the safe removal of the debris and ash by CalRecycle.

The final deadline to submit the paperwork is January 22, 2018. Copies of the ROE and other forms are available at www.venturacountyrecovers.org and the informational meetings. CalRecycle has opened an Operations Center at 290 Maple Court, Suite 120 in Ventura. Forms and information will be available there as well as the Hall of Administration at the County Government Center and Ventura City Hall.

Informational meetings regarding fire debris removal Jan. 4 and Jan. 6

Informational meetings have been set for residents affected by the Thomas Fire who are seeking debris removal services from CalRecycle for severely damaged/ or destroyed property.  Two meetings will be held in Ventura. Meetings will also be held in Ojai and Santa Paula. Fire victims are invited to attend whichever meeting is the most convenient as the information presented will be identical at each meeting.

The first meeting in Ventura will be held on Thursday, January 4 at 6pm, and the second Ventura meeting will be held on Saturday, January 6, at 11am. The meetings will take place at Ventura Baptist Church, 5415 Ralston Street, Ventura. Times, dates and locations for the other meetings will be released as soon as possible.

During the meetings, residents will hear information from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) about the second phase of the debris removal. After the presentation, representatives from CalRecycle and CalOES will be available for breakout sessions with residents to answer individual questions.

Participation in the Phase II clean-up process has been approved by both the Ventura City Council and the County Board of Supervisors. During Phase II, teams from CalRecycle will remove the remaining debris (including building foundations) from properties with destroyed residential structures.

 There is no cost to the property owner for this phase of the work, however residents will need to provide right-of-entry (ROE) forms, insurance information and other important paperwork to allow the clean up their property.

 It is strongly suggested that residents sign up for this service as soon as possible and submit the property paperwork to facilitate the safe removal of the debris and ash by CalRecycle. The final deadline to submit the paperwork is January 22, 2018. Copies of the ROE and other forms are available at www.venturacountyrecovers.org and the informational meetings. CalRecycle anticipates opening an Operations Center at 290 Maple Court, Suite 120 in Ventura on Tuesday, January 9. Forms and information will be available there as well as the Hall of Administration at the County Government Center and Ventura City Hall.

Assistance Center closed its doors but help is still available

After serving for two weeks as a one-stop center for fire recovery information and assistance, the Local Assistance Center that was jointly run by the County and the City of Ventura closed its doors on Saturday, Dec. 23. Residents still seeking services may obtain services at existing local County and City offices.

The County of Ventura and the City of Ventura opened the Center on Dec. 13 at the Poinsettia Pavilion i to assist residents from all areas affected by the Thomas Fire. It has been staffed by a wide array of County, City, State and Federal agencies, as well as a number of non-profit organizations.

Residents have used the Assistance Center to start their recovery from the fire. Information was available on debris removal, permits, housing, rental assistance, vital records, property assessments, public assistance, crisis intervention and stress management, and even services such as replacing driver’s licenses. Health care resources were also available on site to provide assistance, education, and connections to other health services in the community.

“The assistance center provided a very useful service as the County and the City and our partners responded to the substantial needs of our community and those most directly affected. Those that still need help can contact us at City Hall or come to City Hall where we have a fire related service counter established”, said Dan Paranick, Assistant Ventura City Manager.

To further aid fire victims, Ventura County Recovers (venturacountyrecovers.org) continues to offer a registration feature that allows residents to register their contact information to receive information on specific topics. They can also register the address of their damaged or destroyed property so that officials can proactively provide them with information and official notices related to the rebuilding process.

Workshop on renters’ rights at Ventura County Government Center Dec. 27 at 4pm

On Wednesday, December 27, the County of Ventura, in partnership with the City of Ventura, is hosting an informational workshop to help renters understand their rights.  The workshop will provide information covering a wide variety of topics including: tenant rights and responsibilities; landlord rights and responsibilities; unexpected rent increases and price gouging; and affects to lease agreements if a housing unit was destroyed or is uninhabitable due to the Thomas Fire.

Several reports of price gouging, sudden eviction of existing tenants, landlord refusal to clean smoke and ash in units not directly damaged by the fire, and imposing illegal restrictions on new rentals have been received. This workshop will address these and other issues and provide an opportunity to ask questions from experts to help protect our residents from unscrupulous activity.

 The workshop will be held Wednesday, December 27, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Administration, Lower Plaza Assembly Room (LPAR), located at 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA 93009.  The workshop is presented in partnership with the California Rural Legal Assistance, Jewish Family Services, CAUSE, the Housing Rights Center, and Many Mansions.

 For questions, please contact Tracy McAulay, County of Ventura, at 805-662-6792. Additional information about fire recovery efforts can be found at www.VenturaCountyRecovers.org.

Local Assistance Center in Ventura closing Saturday, Dec. 23

After serving for two weeks as a one-stop center for fire recovery information and assistance, the Local Assistance Center that was jointly run by the County and the City of Ventura will close its doors on Saturday, Dec. 23, at 5 p.m. Residents still seeking services are encouraged to visit the Center by Saturday, or may obtain services after Saturday at existing local County and City offices.

The County of Ventura and the City of Ventura opened the Center on Dec. 13 at the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura to assist residents from all areas affected by the Thomas Fire. It has been staffed by a wide array of County, City, State and Federal agencies, as well as a number of non-profit organizations.

“The Local Assistance Center, which has helped 1,968 households to date, has served as a great example of how County and City government can work together to aid our residents across jurisdictions,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers.

Residents have used the Local Assistance Center to start their recovery from the fire. Information is available on debris removal, permits, housing, rental assistance, vital records, property assessments, public assistance, crisis intervention and stress management, and even services such as replacing driver’s licenses. Health care resources are available on site to provide assistance, education, and connections to other health services in the community.

 “The assistance center provided a very useful service as the County and the City and our partners responded to the substantial needs of our community and those most directly affected.   While the use of the center has decreased significantly over the last few days, the City will continue to offer a full array of direct services and assistance to folks at City Hall.  Those that still need help can contact us at City Hall or come to City Hall where we have a fire related service counter established”, said Dan Paranick, Assistant Ventura City Manager.

The Local Assistance Center will remain open on Thursday, December 21st and Friday, December 22nd 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, December 23rd, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The County has also opened Recovery Information Center trailers in Ojai and Santa Paula which will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Friday, Dec. 22.  These two locations offer debris removal and permitting information, public assistance and housing/rental assistance, and connections to Health education, resources and counseling.

“We can continue to serve people effectively and efficiently through our regular channels,” said Barry Zimmerman, Director of the County Human Services Agency, which oversees the Center.   Contact information for agencies that have been present at the Local Assistance Center is attached.

To further aid fire victims, Ventura County Recovers (venturacountyrecovers.org) continues to offer a registration feature that allows residents to register their contact information to receive information on specific topics. They can also register the address of their damaged or destroyed property so that officials can proactively provide them with information and official notices related to the rebuilding process.

United Way Thomas Fire Fund

In response to an outpouring of support, United Way of Santa Barbara County is joining forces with United Way of Ventura County with a joint fund to directly support those individuals and families affected by the fire in both Counties—The United Way Thomas Fire Fund.

Local community partners have determined that the United Way organizations, in both counties, are uniquely positioned and qualified to manage the disaster fund, accept contributions, make distributions, promote the fund and provide a report to the community on how the funds were used. After the wildfire is contained, a committee of representatives from community- and faith-based organizations will be convened to assess needs and allocate money from the fund in Ventura. In Santa Barbara County, United Way of Santa Barbara County will coordinate with local partners such as the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Barbara County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (SBC VOAD) to determine the most appropriate SBC VOAD member organizations and individuals to receive funding, based on the direct need of those affected. United Way of Santa Barbara County may also work to address additional support for individual victims if the wildfire emergency expands into more populated areas.

“The financial and emotional costs of the loss of homes and businesses in Ventura County, including Ojai, is immense and difficult to comprehend,” said Eric Harrison, CEO, United Way of Ventura County. “We will do all we can to ensure a solid path to recovery for our residents.”

To date, $2.25 million has been raised.

Both organizations will utilize the Ventura County systems of donating to the Fund that have already been established. One-hundred percent of the donations will support those in communities affected by the wildfires. Donations can be made by texting UWVC to 41444, online at www.unitedwaythomasfirefund.org, www.unitedwaysb.org or www.vcunitedway.org or by calling 485-6288. Checks may be sent to the United Way office at 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura, CA 93003. Please write “Thomas Fire Fund” in the memo.