Where to go for immediate assistance and what to do if your home is damaged.
The events of the California wildfires have destroyed communities. The Camp Fire in Northern California destroyed 13,972 homes, burned 153,336 acres, and displaced nearly 52,000 residents. The Hill and Woolsey Fires in Southern California resulted in over 100,000 acres burned and displaced many residents as well.
Now that the fires have been completely contained, many are wondering what’s next for them and their families. We’ve compiled a list of helpful resources, next steps, and information for immediate assistance.
When is it Safe to Return Home?
Most residents won’t be able to return home until after the fire(s) are contained, roads are re-opened, and the mandatory evacuation area decrees are lifted. All information on the status of fires, roads, and evacuation areas can be found here.
When you do return home, be aware of these potential hazards:
- Check the ground for hot spots and carry a bucket of water to extinguish.
- Examine the outside of your home before re-entering, look for any sparks, embers, or structural issues.
- If you are unsure or uneasy about the status of your home call the local non-emergency number.
- A complete list of wildfire hazards can be found here.
What if My Home is Damaged or Destroyed?
If your home has been damaged, be sure to complete these steps:
- Document all damages with photos and also keep a written list.
- Contact your insurance company to file your claim ASAP.
- When the adjuster arrives, make sure all damages are noted in detail by them.
- Re-contact your insurance for do’s and don’ts, next steps, and a better understanding of your coverage.
- Follow-up often and make sure you understand the process 100%.
What Comes Next?
If your home has been damaged beyond repair, there may be an option available to help you rebuild your home. For those forced to start over, the FHA 203(h) mortgage program is here to help people re-achieve their dream of home ownership in presidentially declared disaster areas.
There are many benefits available for home purchases that can make a trying time less stressful. Benefits such as low down payment options, low FICO score requirements, missed or late payment forgiveness post-disaster, and even help to verify your income and employment if your records were destroyed.
To learn more about rebuilding your dream of home ownership visit our website regarding Section 203 (h) or contact an On Q Mortgage Consultant today.
How can I help?
There are plenty of places to donate and volunteer to help recover from these devastating fires. We’ve compiled a list of places to donate your time, money, and anything you can spare to the victims and firefighters impacted.
- California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund has been around for 15 years and has raised millions of dollars to help with the relief and recover in the wake of California wildfires. 100% of your donation goes directly towards making a difference.
- Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California is accepting donations to help families and patients who’ve been displaced by the Camp Fire in Northern California. Text “CampFireRelief” to 91999 or visit their website to donate.
- Caring Choices is accepting donations and volunteers to be placed in different donation centers such as the Hope Center and various animal shelters in Chico, Gridley, and Richvale. Visit their website to donate or find out how you can get involved.
- The Humane Society of Ventura County is accepting donations and supplies on their Amazon Wish List for the animals. Many animals and their owners have been separated due to the fires across California.
- The Entertainment Industry Foundation is a nonprofit founded by Hollywood stars to help firefighters and other emergency workers combat the California wildfires.
With our Mission of simplifying the mortgage process to make the dream of home ownership a reality—every lost home is heartbreaking to us. Families and entire communities are without homes, food, and supplies.
We encourage everyone to find a way to give back. If you can, donate your time and volunteer to help at one of the amazing organizations. If you’re not in California, send supplies or donations one of the numerous places that could use your support.
Borrowers still may be required to pay taxes, insurance, and pre-paids at closing. Eligible borrowers for the 203(h) program must reside in a presidentially designated disaster area and their home must be substantially damaged or destroyed. Must be a purchase transaction to qualify. The programs are subject to change without notice. Underwriting terms and conditions would apply to qualified borrowers. Some restrictions and requirements may apply. OnQ1128180681Y000004kPIL