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Local Red Cross to Begin Distribution of Tea Fire Response Funds

More than $400,000 has been donated to help residents affected by the November blaze.

The Santa Barbara Tea Fire Response Fund, a collaborative community partnership formed in the days after the Tea Fire that began Nov. 13, 2008, is ready to begin reviewing and disbursing donated funds, which total about $405,000.

Residents affected by the fire who seek assistance must apply at the American Red Cross-Santa Barbara County Chapter, 2707 State St. in Santa Barbara, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Applicants should bring proof that their house was burned down or damaged, or that they have been adversely affected by the fire. Examples include a driver’s license with the destroyed home’s address, or utility correspondence sent to the address. All applications are confidential.

The Red Cross has offered to provide the case management service. Residents who already have applied to Red Cross do not need to apply again. A case manager will meet with residents to discuss unmet needs. To set an appointment, call Pamela Voge at 805.687.1331.

Tea Fire Response Funds will be distributed based on a two-tiered system where a public-private partnership of agencies and officials will provide screening at the social worker/case manager level and an oversight committee of local leaders will provide direction and assurance that all monies are used appropriately. United Way of Santa Barbara County is acting as the fiscal agent, handling the monies for the fund. United Way is not charging for this service, and 100 percent of the donations will go for services to Tea Fire survivors.

The Tea Fire Response Fund is committed to the long-term recovery of the community. Disbursements will be made throughout the year as needs of survivors continue to be identified. Disbursements will be made on a quarterly basis until all funds are disbursed, no later than Dec. 31.

The first checks will be distributed in March and every three months thereafter. It’s a tentative schedule and may be adjusted based on what the screening subcommittee and oversight committee determines are the most pressing short-term, midterm and long-range needs of the community.

Tea Fire Response Fund Oversight Committee

» Janet Stanley, CEO, American Red Cross-Santa Barbara County Chapter

» G. Paul Didier, President & CEO, United Way of Santa Barbara County

» Ron Gallo, President & CEO, Santa Barbara Foundation

» Marty Blum, Mayor, City of Santa Barbara

» Salud Carbajal, Supervisor 1st District, County of Santa Barbara

» Les Carroll, General Manager, KZSB AM 1290

» Michael Granados, CEO Smith Media, KEYT3 Santa Barbara

Tea Fire Fund Screening Subcommittee

» Brian Clark, Catholic Charities

» Louise Kolbert, Director of Emergency Services, American Red Cross-Santa Barbara County Chapter

» Tom Reed, Unity Shoppe

» Brett Williams, Direct Relief International

» Jay McAmis, County Office of Emergency Services

» Joe Woodruff, Lions Club

» Ed Lamb, First Southern Baptist Church

» Justin Haagen, ServiceMaster

» Geri Ventura. MERRAG/Montecito Fire Department

» Michael Williams, Wildland Residents Association

» Joel Goforth, United Way of Santa Barbara County

» Gracie Huerta, City OES/SBFD

» Jim Rivera, Santa Barbara Foundation

Marjorie Wass is a publicist.

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