Wednesday , April 14 2021

Fatal California fire can aggravate residential homelessness crisis


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to Dennis Romero

Jeff Hill lost his house and lost everything he owned at Camp Fire. Officials believe they destroyed 90 percent of the homes in California's paradise.

His employer, the Paradise Irrigation District, told him and his colleagues that he would lose his job in the near future because it would take several weeks or months for the utility to start up and restart after the city's infrastructure was destroyed .

Hill and thousands of other refugees who do not have salaries or green cards face the possibility that 138,000 acres of campfires have lost their homes.

Hill is staying with relatives near Chico on Tuesday (local time). "There is no shop, no restaurant, nothing. If people want to live there, there is no place to eat, no water, no power, no place to dwell, it is just crazy as we have been for a hundred years."

Image: Chico Temporary Shelter
Troy Bledsoe, an evacuation of Eric Bass and Campfire on the left, spends time at a temporary shelter outside Walmart store in Chico, California on November 14, 2018.Noah Berger / AP

Brock Long, manager of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told reporters Wednesday that the loss to Paradise 's 26,682 people is "all".

The catastrophe in Butte County, where at least 56 people were killed, is the result of a monumental housing crisis in California, where almost half of the population lives in cars, parks and streets.

There is no guarantee that you will be able to find a place in Golden State even if you receive federal and state grants that help pay for the poor.

"The housing crisis struck us just like any other place," says Sarah Thomas, program manager for the nonprofit Chico Housing Operations team. "Chico's vacancy rate is about 1%. Now that all this house has been lost in Paradise, more people will have trouble finding a place to live. "

Despite the fact that about a fifth of California residents are in poverty, the value of the state's housing is $ 544,900 and the average rent for two-bedroom rentals is $ 2,750, according to real estate listing site Zillow.

Before the fires began on November 8th, thousands of low-income workers and retirees fled from paradises with an average residential price of $ 200,900 according to the US Census Bureau data.

"Paradise is not the richest city in the city," said spokesman Darac Schwartz. "I was born in Southern California. It is also burning. But it is similar to those who worry about burning their beach house. The situation is slightly different for each person compared to the people in Paradise.

"The people of Paradise have no way of getting out of town," she continued. "People are stuck in shelters."

Refugees build tents in parking lots, including Chico Walmart, while others are sleeping in cars or with their families. Because Hill had lost his home in Paradise, Hill said 20 of his family were staying in a house.

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