Friday, July 20 , 2018, 4:06 pm | Fair 75º


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Red Cross Opening Thomas Fire Recovery Centers in Santa Barbara, Ventura

Santa Barbara County provides advice for clean-up and resources for fire recovery and flood prevention

The Santa Barbara chapter of the Red Cross will host a Thomas Fire recovery center Sunday at its building at 2707 State St. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara chapter of the Red Cross will host a Thomas Fire recovery center Sunday at its building at 2707 State St.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The American Red Cross is opening Thomas Fire recovery assistance centers in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties this week, as public agencies work to connect people with information about cleaning up ash, property damage, and flood prevention.

Red Cross caseworkers will be on hand to speak with individuals about one-on-one recovery plans, provide emotional support, financial assistance to people who qualify, help navigate paperwork and connect clients with other agencies, if needed.

A recovery assistance center will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Barbara chapter of the Red Cross, 2707 State St. 

“Anyone can stop by the service center, it is a great place to get information even if your home is relatively unaffected,” Red Cross spokeswoman Georgia Duncan said. ”Our goal is to be available to everyone that needs us.”

There will also be Red Cross assistance centers held daily at the Ventura County Cred Union, 6026 Telephone Rd., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday. Tzu-Chi, an international humanitarian organization, will provide recovery services from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the same location. 

On a “case-by-case basis,” Duncan said, the Red Cross may provide direct financial support.

The assistance can be used for needs such as an apartment deposit, purchasing clothes or food, or covering immediate transportation expenses, she said.

Proof of address is required if someone's home has been damaged or destroyed, and if they are requesting help, she said. A utility bill or other mail with your name and address is appropriate. 

The recovery assistance centers will also have free clean-up kids available, with sifters, cleaning supplies, shovels and other items.

The Red Cross opened evacuation shelters at the Ventura County Fairgrounds and UC Santa Barbara during the Thomas Fire, and has provided nearly 7,000 overnight stays, according to Duncan. 

Thomas Fire officials reported 89-percent containment Wednesday and Santa Barbara County agencies shifted to recovery mode after all evacuation orders and warnings were lifted last week.  

The county's Thomas Fire website has fire resources available including: 

»​ Disaster Recovery Assistance and Services brochure from the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

» Information for property owners who had structures, including homes, damaged or destroyed in the Thomas Fire

» Santa Barbara County's Homeowners Guide for Flood Prevention and Response 

» Safe clean-up and work practices during and after the Thomas Fire, here and here

» Information about returning home after a wildfire 

» Tips for cleaning swimming pools impacted by ash and smoke

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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