ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — In the wake of the Camp Fire, families are facing a problem they did not anticipate while fleeing for their lives — finding temporary housing.
President Trump tweeted Monday evening that he had approved an “expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California”
This tweet came just after families shared their struggle searching for housing. Since the tweet, there has been no word from FEMA of when more resources will be available.
With their eight-month-old baby fast asleep, Sarah Khalil and her husband narrowly escaped the raging Camp Fire, only to face another burning reality.
“We’re just trying to find somewhere, ideally, that’ll accommodate all of us,” she said.
Their home was one of nearly 6,500 homes destroyed in the fire. Aside from short-term living with friends and family, or at hotels and Airbnb’s, Khalil said temporary housing is hard to come by. A quick search on Zillow.com shows about 130 available rentals in Butte County.
“We’re looking at outlying areas around Chico because [my husband] still has to go to work because we all are unemployed at the moment… [our] jobs burned down,” she said.
In Sonoma County last year, hundreds affected by the fires were able to live out of FEMA trailers. The agency stepped in shortly after the wine country wildfires. But the response to the Camp Fire could be different.
“Until we actually have either a major disaster declaration or an emergency declaration for individuals in place we cannot provide direct housing to individuals impacted by the wildfires,” said FEMA Spokeswoman Brandi Richard
Even with fires ripping through both ends of the state, FEMA spokeswoman Brandi Richard said the agency can’t provide housing assistance until President Trump approves the state’s request for a disaster declaration.
“And as soon as that happens, if it happens, we’ll be right there to provide even more assistance to the residents of California,” she said.
Khalil’s little one may be patient. But mom and dad know they’ll need to find a place for them to live, very soon.
“We’re just really happy that she’s young enough that she won’t remember ever remember it… remember what she lost and what we had… how terrifying it was,” mom said.