The Montecito Center: A Focal Point for Recovery
Source: County of Santa Barbara
Residents impacted by the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow are finding assistance at the Montecito Center for Preparedness, Recovery and Rebuilding to address a specific issue, need, challenge or question.
Some residents have concerns about insurance and need evacuation orders to prove when they were displaced. Others have concerns about settlement offers that are lower than expected. Although the County has no regulatory control over insurance companies, the Center works with the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and Santa Barbara Legal Aid Foundation to connect people with support.
The Center can connect residents with properties that suffered damage with their specific Case Planner at the County Planning and Development Department or staff at the County Public Works Department. Both of these County agencies are highly responsive and do all they can to help. A local nonprofit, the American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara Chapters, has also deployed land use-planning experts to provide free general consultations.
Through the onsite support of the HOPE 805 team of crisis counselors and linkage to broader resources of the Community Wellness Team, the Center is skilled at connecting residents suffering from severe trauma and loss to support and resources.
Dealing with Mud/Debris
Some programs at the Center are helping with the rebuilding process directly. Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade have offices at the Montecito Center. Their volunteer armies are helping residents dig out and move forward in the rebuilding process. In a partnership with the Bucket Brigade, a professional conservator also maintains offices at the Center to help residents free of charge. She has two 8-foot by 20-foot freezers that can bring mud-damaged items to negative 19 degrees for 48 hours: the conditions required to kill dangerous mold.
The Center also connects people to new opportunities. For example, on Monday April 16, the United Way of Santa Barbara County, which provides funding to support the Montecito Center, will announce a new Individual Assistance program which makes cash grants available to qualified applicants. The Montecito Center is one of three locations where they can apply in person. Visit http://www.unitedwaysb.org/ for more information beginning April 16.