Habitat for Humanity to Help Quake Victims Rebuild


A house on Painter Street in Rio Dell was red tagged after being knocked off its foundation. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • A house on Painter Street in Rio Dell was red tagged after being knocked off its foundation.
The county of Humboldt and Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter have formalized an agreement for the organization to help local residents make repairs to homes badly damaged in the Dec. 20 quake and Jan. 1 aftershock.

According to a news release, the county, city of Rio Dell and the state Office of Emergency Services have been working together to “identify and coordinate partnerships with nonprofit agencies that have experience in disaster recovery, including repairing and rebuilding homes.”

Under the agreement, Habitat for Humanity will provide “management and oversight services related to home rebuilding and rehabilitation for low- to very low-income homeowners and residents who have been displaced, or whose homes have sustained significant damage, as a result of the recent earthquakes.”

“Through our experience with disaster relief, the one thing we have learned is that every disaster is unique,” said Joseph Hale, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter, a chapter of the global housing organization, in the release. “However, what is similar are the struggles families face with being displaced. Our goal at Habitat is to not forget the compassion that goes along with this work as we coordinate with the Office of Emergency Services (OES), the county of Humboldt, and the city of Rio Dell in serving those in need by creating a fast-moving streamlined process.”

Of the nearly 2,000 structures inspected since the 6.4 temblor and 5.4 aftershock struck, causing a combined $32 million in damage, 91 were deemed unsafe for occupation and more than another 350 were yellow-tagged, meaning a need for safety repairs, with more than 100 households displaced, most of those in the city of Rio Dell, which bore the brunt of the quakes.

“Rebuilding will take time, and this partnership with Habitat for Humanity will bring the City of Rio Dell closer to our goal of ending earthquake-related displacement in our city,” said Rio Dell City Manager Kyle Knopp. “I want to thank the county for their work to bring these resources to Rio Dell. I also want to thank the team from Habitat for Humanity for their willingness to assist our community in our time of need.”

More information will be made available at today’s 6:30 p.m. virtual town hall on earthquake recovery efforts. Find out more here.

“We are providing much-needed assistance to displaced residents while continuing to explore every resource available to help our communities rebuild,” Humboldt County 2nd District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell said. “The most important thing we can do is to get people back in their homes, so we have been working to establish partnerships with organizations who have significant experience with rebuilding homes following a disaster.”

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