State, Federal and Local Partners make housing a reality for Almeda Fire Survivors
The 2020 Almeda Fire left more than 2,400 homes destroyed, placing a massive burden on displaced families throughout the Rogue Valley as they worked to find safe, stable housing. The cities of Talent and Phoenix were hit particularly hard by the fire and crews work tirelessly to clean up debris and pave the way for rebuilding. The lack of housing supply to meet the demand, which largely predated the fire, has only worsened and created a more difficult situation as the region works to recover.
Due to the lack of available temporary housing and extensive demand, federal, local and state partners collaborated on a creative endeavor to tackle this complex issue. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Direct Housing Mission aims to help address the shortage of available housing in the area and provide a bridge to people as they continue to develop a long-term housing strategy. As part of this mission in Southern Oregon, the Debris Management Task Force, FEMA, Jackson County and the Cities of Talent and Phoenix worked together to identify sites for housing, clean up these sites and rebuild them with fully furnished dwellings to house survivors.
“The success here was the partnerships we’ve built” said Pam Zawada, FEMA’s Deputy Logistics Section Chief for Direct Housing. “Without the relationships and the partnerships, we would not have been able to come this far and really execute this vision.”
This mobile home park restoration effort in Jackson County, where a previously destroyed home site was cleared of debris and completely reconstructed, is the first of its kind in the United States as part of the direct housing mission.
“Being able to work with local and federal partners to get people back into stable housing is a massive success for our community” said Jerry Marmon, South Operations Chief for the Oregon Debris Management Task Force.
Totem Pole Mobile Home Park in Talent, Coleman Creek Mobile Home Park in Phoenix and Rogue Valley Mobile Village in Medford are all being utilized as part of the direct housing mission and will provide space to house more than 100 families.