You will find a bee hive of activities on our campus on Fridays. The Long-Term Recovery Group meeting takes place at 8AM with 80-100 people from an inspiring range of groups from the community. Then at about 9am, committees for Volunteer Management, Case Management, and Spiritual and Emotional Wellness meet in the PLC, conference room, and foyer. Last week we overflowed into the Sacristy because of the large number of people. You are probably aware that Small Business Administration is now with us 5 days a week for several weeks.
At the general meeting on Friday it was another ‘drinking from a fire hose’ experience where there is far more info than you can absorb and process. While every week we all yearn for news that gives hope that things are getting under control, the news continues to reveal more layers of complexity.
We learned from the housing committee that 365,000 trees need to be removed from the immediate Paradise area and what they have already removed, approximately 51,000, is more than they know how to deal with. Timber removal is a huge barrier to rebuilding. They estimate 153,000 acres need to be assessed for tree condition, and only 17,000 acres have been completed so far. Still so much to be done.
Housing reported that 177 families are still living in hotels or a total of 347 people. The voucher program goes for 6 months, up to May 10th. There is discussion of extending it.
Now that the weather has given us a break, debris removal has resumed, as of Monday, March 18.
The big news this past week is the Case Management is up and running. If a survivor needs help with making a plan to move forward, the Case Manager can help identifying unmet needs and directing them to resources. Their office is located on Carmichael Drive but they are also traveling to various housing communities to reach survivors. Butte 211 has done a fantastic job of helping callers find help.
Roger Cutler on the Spiritual and Emotional Wellness committee reported that the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance team will present a program called Teaching Resiliency on May 14 or May 21. Details are in process. A big effort is being mounted by many churches and professional organizations to prepare the community at large with the tools to be sympathetic listeners to our Paradise survivors.
A large-scale Base Camp is coming to Butte County (where PG&E base camp was during the immediate weeks after the fire) to accommodate contractors and state agencies with sleeping quarters, food service, showers and laundry facilities. They are seeking various camp staff in full time positions, expected to last a year. Three shifts are available with guaranteed overtime pay. Call 530-433-4060.
All properties in Paradise need to be surveyed before planning and rebuilding. There is a huge shortage of surveyors. The American Association of Surveyors is looking to help.
From the Volunteer Management committee, we learned that the scope of organizing volunteer groups is so massive that the committee’s focus will be on developing a data base of organizations who want volunteers. So church groups will use the data base to find a church group they can help, a professional group will look for a comparable professional group.
If you have any specific questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will do my best to seek answers.