It has been almost two months since the Montecito debris flows, and there are many ways to help individual survivors and the community-recovery process.
Below are opportunities to help by volunteering your time and donating resources.
But first, a quick reminder that March 16 is the deadline for Thomas Fire and Montecito debris flow victims to apply for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Administration, and disaster loans (for physical damage) through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Scroll down for more information on that, and the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center that opened Monday in Santa Barbara.
Community recovery efforts
The Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade mobilizes volunteers to help homeowners dig out their properties and clean up mud and debris from the Jan. 9 Montecito debris flows. Volunteers can sign up and homeowners can request help on the group’s website.
Bucket Brigade volunteers are next working this weekend, and crews have additionally been working to dig out oak trees and other urban forest resources that are being suffocated by the thick mud covering their root systems.
Dead or dying trees will increase the risk of wildfire, Santa Barbara County noted in its request for residents to help save the trees.
The SB Support Network has taken a direct approach to connect families in need with what they need – whether it’s temporary housing, clothing, or school supplies.
Families in need can reach out for assistance, and community members can sign up to help.
“Our mission is to support the immediate needs of families impacted by the recent mudslides, who have lost homes, loved ones, belongings,” organizers wrote on the Facebook page.
“While there are many organizations helping during this time of need, Red Cross to Direct Relief, we have found we are most effective in making a direct connection between families’ needs, and families who can support those needs. We will also be linking community resources such as housing, temporary work, community events, lost and found, etc.
“We continue to be overwhelmed by the love and support of the community.”
Families in need, or anyone who knows of one, are asked to contact Tara Haaland-Ford, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with information about the family, including a contact person, a description of circumstances and a list of needs.
Recovery Project Santa Barbara opened a Recovery Free Shop Saturday featuring new and used clothing for people who lost their wardrobes in the debris flows.
The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day through March 31 at the Montecito Country Mart, 1016 Village Road.
People can sign up to volunteer working in the shop and donations are being accepted at the store location.
Fundraisers for survivors and disaster response organizations
The United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund is still accepting donations, and all money goes directly to people affected by the disasters, according to organizers.
People can also send in checks directly, with “Thomas Fire Fund” in the memo: to The United Way of Santa Barbara County at 320 E. Gutierrez St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; and to The United Way of Ventura County at 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura, CA 93003.
The United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund had raised more than $3.7 million — and distributed more than $1 million — as of Monday.
In Santa Barbara County, $501,000 was distributed to local nonprofit agencies helping the recovery effort, and the next phase will distribute $400,000 to individuals and families directly affected by the disasters in late spring, United Way spokesman Angel Pacheco said.
In Ventura County, $500,000 in prepaid credit cards, valued at $500 each, were distributed to households with damaged or destroyed residences from the Thomas Fire. The fund will distribute additional money for individual hardship assistance.
The Santa Barbara Foundation’s Community Disaster Relief Fund supports local VOAD member agencies (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), nonprofit groups that have a role in emergency response.
Funding decisions will be coordinated with the United Way, and the Santa Barbara Foundation is not providing housing or financial assistance directly to individuals and families, the organization noted.
Events and benefit concerts have raised several million dollars for survivors and disaster response efforts, including the Feb. 25 One805 Kick Ash Bash; there are a few more events planned for March.
Teens Sing for Santa Barbara is holding a benefit concert at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St., at 7 p.m. Friday in partnership with Unity Shoppe. Tickets are available online here.
The concert is produced by and will feature performances by local teens, with special guest appearances by Kenny Loggins, Bill Champlin and friends, according to organizers.
Tickets are still available for Rising from the Ashes: A Feast to Benefit the Foodbank on Sunday, an event that will benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s Thomas Fire and Flood Hunger Relief Fund.
The event will feature a live and silent auction in addition to the feast, and will be held at Rancho Santa Barbara.
Proceeds from this year’s Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association Mike Moses Memorial Poker Tournament, on Sunday, will support Montecito debris flow survivors, according to organizers.
The March 18 Jack Johnson & Friends benefit concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl is sold out, and proceeds will support the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund and local nonprofits that contribute to the recovery effort, including Direct Relief, the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, FOOD Share, Search Dog Foundation, Greater Goods, and Habitat for Humanity, according to organizers.
Applying for disaster assistance and loans
March 16 is the deadline for Thomas Fire and Montecito debris flow victims to apply for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Administration, and disaster loans (for physical damage) through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
FEMA applications can be done online at DisasterAssistance.gov, through the FEMA mobile app, or by calling 800.621.3362, or 800.462.7585 for TTY (teletypewriter) users.
The SBA is accepting disaster loan applications for economic injury through Oct. 15.
The Disaster Recovery Center in Santa Barbara transitioned to a SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center on Monday, and will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Calvary Chapel Church, at 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez.
The outreach center will offer information for business owners, homeowners and renters.
Santa Barbara County’s ReadySBC.org website has more information about disaster assistance, debris removal, and storm preparedness.
Women’s Economic Ventures has disaster recovery resources and is offering quick response loans (up to $10,000) and loan client relief.
Visit the website for more information about small business recovery services WEV offers.
Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.