November 22, 2017, Register Staff
Since the outbreak of the Napa fires in early October, a special fund established to provide immediate and long-term assistance to those affected by the disaster has helped more than 7,000 residents, organizers report.
The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, which is housed at and managed by Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF), has approved distributions totaling $4 million in the last six weeks, including:
— $565,000 that provided immediate relief services to more than 6,000 residents since Oct, 8, such as meals, temporary shelter, emergency childcare during school closures (and at the various shelter sites in Napa County), medical care, mental health services and assistance for the elderly and those with special needs.
— $3 million to launch an Emergency Financial Assistance program that has provided cash aid so far to approximately 1,000 families since Oct. 27, all of whom live or work in Napa County and are facing serious financial hardships because of the economic slow-down brought about by the October wildfires. Financial assistance is currently scheduled to be distributed through Dec. 15, an extension from the original application deadline of Nov. 9. Appointments can be made by contacting On the Move at 707-251-9432.
Michele Grupe, executive director of Cope Family Center, said the Disaster Relief Fund had been essential to allowing Cope to redirect its resources to provide emergency aid and crisis intervention to fire victims, as well as coordinate mental health referrals partner agencies for individuals in need of more intensive supports.
The next round of grants from NVCF will include a series of workshops to help Napa County residents navigate the application process for private insurance reimbursements, and also is likely to include additional funding to further extend the Emergency Financial Assistance program.
NVCF will make a grant to United Policyholders (UP), a nonprofit insurance consumer advocacy group with extensive disaster-related experience, to conduct these workshops and provide individualized assistance at no-cost to Napa County residents, with a particular focus on small businesses, low-income residents, and Latino families. The first workshop is being planned now for mid-December.