News from the Fifth: Flood Recovery
It has been a month and I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a little bit of sunshine. While I'm not actively cursing the rain yet, I can tell you a favorite song in the Hopkins household right now is "Mr. Golden Sun." (These little children are asking you, to please come out so they can play with you!)
We're ready for the sun. And we're ready for a break in this damn rain. And we’re just ready for a break, maybe. For the past month, our communities affected by the floods have been working around the clock to get their lives back together... especially our small business community, many of whom lost everything they had. Many of whom still need help.
If your muck boots have dried and you're still looking for a way to help out those affected by the recent flooding events (or, if donning muck boots isn't your thing, which is totally OK), the upcoming spring months -- which are hopefully going to be full of more sunshine and little less rain -- are going to be chock-full of fundraiser events directly benefiting residents as well as the small businesses who were forced to shut their doors after the waters rose and inundated their inventories and equipment.
And all of these fundraisers offer an opportunity to play, rain or shine!
The first event is THIS THURSDAY, Apr. 4 at Kendall-Jackson's Wine Estate and Gardens from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event includes wine and appetizers; all donations are appreciated and accepted.
Then, in mid-April, team at R3, Rodger's Play Haus Productions and the Lazy Bear Fund will present Love Wins, a four-day, flood-aid fundraising event to help those in need. It begins Thursday, Apr. 18 with Give Back Thursday at the Rainbow Cattle Club and spans through the weekend with a #BetterTogether reception at Big Bottom Market, a Flood-Aid Extravaganza at the Guerneville Veterans Hall and a new Easter in the Plaza tradition on Sunday, Apr. 21.
In addition to these events, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts is planning a gala in May, to include dinner, an art auction and some special guests. More details to be announced soon.
Proceeds from these events will funnel into the New Vision Foundation, which will provide small grants to small businesses affected by the floods. The New Vision Foundation is a 501c3, run by the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber. The Chamber has partnered with the Russian River Chamber and Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce and a handful of other supporters to establish a small business relief fund for our small businesses in both the lower Russian River area and in the Barlow.
Thanks to the New Vision Foundation, the Lazy Bear Fund (lazybearfund.org) and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, small businesses will be able to apply for small grants to help with getting back on their feet.
We're all in this together and together, we're better. #bettertogether
Flood Recovery: Resources for small businesses and residents
Flood Survivor Rapid Rehousing Program
While the county continues to wait for Federal Emergency Management Assistance, our local government and nonprofit providers are stepping in to help residents get back in their houses.
On Tuesday, March 19, the Board of Supervisors approved a $150,000 award to West County Community Services (WCCS). The grant has enabled WCCS to establish a Flood Survivor Rapid Rehousing Program. The program pays for a dedicated case manager to help flood victims find creative solutions to get back into their housing or similar housing solutions.
The case manager assigned to this program will work with clients to locate housing and provide limited move-in assistance for those who cannot currently live in their damage home and need to relocate as a result; and assist low-income homeowners with mini-grants ($3,000 max) for housing repair that will help return their units to habitability.
The case manager will help potential clients determine their eligibility, develop a budget and a housing plan.
“Not every client will receive the same thing,” Tim Miller, WCCS executive director told the River MAC during a special meeting on Thursday, March 21. “But this a low-barrier, quick response. That is a transitional program that gets people back into housing that is the same or similar to what they had” prior to the flood.
Additional information can be found at westcountyservices.org/housing-services
Small Business Administration Help Available
One month has passed since the worst flood in two decades rocked the lower Russian River area. The federal government came through at the end of March to help our small businesses.
As recently reported by Frank Robertson in Sonoma West Times and News, the U.S. Small Business Administration opened up shop in Guerneville at the former Bank of America building on Main Street. The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Wednesdays, which is available from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.