SALEM, OR – Oregon took a significant step forward in wildfire recovery efforts this week. A State requested direct housing mission to help provide temporary housing for hundreds of Oregonians displaced by wildfire was granted from FEMA on Wednesday, October 7.
The state and FEMA are finalizing the implementation plan for this mission, under which residents in Jackson, Linn and Marion Counties who lost their homes in September wildfires may be eligible. Considerations for prioritization of these three counties included factors such as immediate need and lack of available rental resources. Jackson County alone accounts for more than half of the homes lost in Oregon.
Housing solutions in this mission are tailored to the individual needs and situations of survivors based on how quickly their homes can be repaired to a safe, sanitary and secure condition, and the availability of housing options in their communities.
“The approval of this housing mission is an important milestone in the recovery process and provides some temporary stability to those who have undergone such disruption,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “We’re grateful to FEMA for their support and continue to work directly with our state and local partners to put our plans in action.”
Direct housing assistance was requested for Douglas, Jackson, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion. FEMA continues to evaluate the need for temporary housing assistance in additional affected counties. The state continues to work directly with the Red Cross and other public and private partners to ensure every impacted Oregonian has a safe place to stay.
To be eligible for direct housing assistance, Oregon wildfire survivors must register with FEMA and reside in Jackson, Linn or Marion County. Damage must be to the primary residence and must be a result of the wildfires. FEMA will reach out to individual households who are potentially eligible for direct temporary housing based on the results of their FEMA inspection.
“We are deeply grateful to Oregon’s Federal Delegation and the Federal Government for recognizing the need in Oregon,” said Oregon Housing and Community Services Executive Director Margaret Salazar. “We were already facing extreme housing shortages across the state. The massive loss of housing caused by the wildfires only exacerbated this crisis. This swift action and much needed federal aid is welcome news to Oregon families impacted by the wildfires.”
Strong windstorms on September 7 ignited multiple wildfires across western Oregon and exacerbated wildfires already in progress. More than 1 million acres burned in 20 Oregon counties; some 4,100 homes were destroyed and thousands more suffered major damage.
The State of Oregon requested Direct Housing Assistance to meet the needs of disaster survivors based on the high number of destroyed homes and displaced residents as well as an extreme housing shortage within highly vulnerable communities.
Direct Housing Assistance is a program available through FEMA’s Individual and Household Program (IHP). The FEMA temporary housing program provides housing for up to 18 months after a disaster declaration. Commonly, FEMA’s disaster housing programs pay for rental of apartments and homes and for immediate home repairs.