October 27, 2019 – The CARESTAR Foundation has approved a grant to support the United Way of Northern California’s Emergency Grant Program, providing immediate cash assistance of $500 to $1,000 to families who lost their homes in the Butte County Camp Fire.
The grant of $25,000 will provide needed financial support to families in crisis following the disastrous fires. The United Way of Northern California has received more than 7,000 applications for immediate cash assistance. Most of the families are living in emergency shelters in Chico, and are trying to secure more permanent solutions. Some have requested the funds for essentials such as food or gas.
“We saw that this need was urgent, and that our support could make a difference in the lives and health of the community affected by this unprecedented devastation,” says CARESTAR CEO Tanir Ami. “CARESTAR’s main focus is on care for Californians who face traumatic circumstances, through a range of community partnerships and strategic investment in effective programs.” Ami adds, “We hope to be able to help with longer-term planning and phases of recovery and rebuilding in the Paradise area, while supporting emergency care for residents affected by the fires.”
According to the United Way, their funding has been sufficient to give grants to approximately 6,000 of the current applicants. They are, however, fielding many more applications each day. Even without hard data, they know anecdotally that most applications are from seniors and low-income families. Approximately half of the applicants also report that they are uninsured or underinsured. Average turnaround time from application to delivery of cash is two weeks.
The recent Camp Fire in Butte County has been declared the deadliest and most destructive in California history, killing 86 people and destroying 14,000 homes. The United Way of Northern California has established two venues for families who need cash assistance to make requests: they may fill out an online form, or come in person to the Disaster Recovery Center in Chico and get help completing the form. The Center is in the former Sears Store in the Chico Mall, at 1982 East 20th Street.
“It’s very satisfying to be able to offer this assistance immediately, especially during the holiday week. If we are able to help families reduce financial stress and speed their recovery, it’s a great gift,” says CARESTAR’s Ami.