Red Cross providing housing relief to wildfire evacuees

If you are displaced, the first step is to call the American Red Cross or head to the Eugene Masonic Lodge #11 at 2777 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Posted: Sep 15, 2020 6:41 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2020 6:45 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Thousands of evacuees have been left wondering where to go next as wildfires spread across Oregon.

With hotel and motel rooms filling up rapidly, here’s what you need to know if you have been displaced.

The first step is to call the American Red Cross or head to the Eugene Masonic Lodge #11 at 2777 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. If you go straight to a motel, there's a chance you could get stuck with the bill.

RELATED: NEW EVACUEE RELIEF SITE OPERATING IN LANE COUNTY

As Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch puts it, the goal is to get everyone who needs help into a hotel or motel, but that may take some time.

“Right now, we are processing vouchers as they come in,” Buch said. “We are trying to find places for everybody. Right now, our early morning meeting today stated that we are seeing a waiting list, and we're trying to process through them as quickly as possible.”

Buch said that the county is working hand-in-hand with the American Red Cross, and they are teaming up with several local hotels and motels.

“We do have a Red Cross person signed to our EOC, which is our Emergency Operation Center,” Buch said. “So we have one representative there at all times to make sure that we can communicate the needs that they're seeing on site at evacuation centers and relief locations directly to our emergency team.”

Buch said the county is hoping to set up something called a MARC very soon. This is a multi-agency resource center. Here, evacuees will be able to receive help with insurance, as well as the chance to get other pressing questions answered. For more information about which services will be available, click here.

"We are working 24 hours a day and seven days a week on this," Buch said. "We're trying to put as many resources together as we possibly can for evacuees."

KEZI 9 News spoke to Rep. Peter DeFazio Tuesday afternoon about the emergency declaration that was secured and signed by President Donald Trump last week.

RELATED: DEFAZIO, WYDEN & MERKLEY VISIT HOLIDAY FARM FIRE

“That means that individuals who have been displaced from their homes can get in touch with the Red Cross,” DeFazio said. “The Red Cross will provide them with vouchers for hotels and can also provide some food assistance.”

Then, a new Major Disaster declaration was approved by the White House just hours later on Tuesday.

RELATED: WHITE HOUSE APPROVES MAJOR DISASTER DECLARATION FOR OREGON

“That will provide for longer-term housing and potentially for housing reconstruction for small business assistance in the communities,” DeFazio said. “For those small businesses that have been destroyed.”

DeFazio described the outpouring of community support as “heartwarming.”

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