Wildfire Damage Housing Relief available for Oregon wildfire victims

Mike McLane_thb

Rep. Mike McLane

Individual Assistance Grants Provided Through Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account

Salem, OR – House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) Thursday announced that critical relief for wildfire victims is now available and accessible through the Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account.

Created through legislation sponsored by Rep. McLane and signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, the program serves as an additional resource for Oregon families that lose their homes or housing in a wildfire. According to the Malheur National Forest Joint Information Center, the Canyon Creek Complex Fire in eastern Oregon is considered the number one priority nationally for firefighting resources. The fire has so far destroyed 36 homes and burned through more than 50,000 acres.

Canyon Creek Complex Fire - Protecting Powerlines - Aug 18, 2015 (NWCGgov)

Canyon Creek Complex Fire – Protecting Powerlines – Aug 18, 2015 (NWCG.gov)

“Oregon is facing an unprecedented wildfire season that has already claimed 36 homes and displaced dozens of families from their communities. These next few months will be challenging as we work to recover from these devastating fires across our state,” said Rep. McLane. “These wildfire relief grants will help families rebuild their homes and lives. I will work with our state agencies to make sure these grants go out as quickly as possible, and am already looking for additional sources of funding so that no family is left unaided. My thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters who continue to courageously put themselves in harm’s way to keep our communities safe. Together, we will get through this very difficult time for our state.”

The Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account was created under House Bill 3148-A, and will be administered by the Housing and Community Services Department to assist households of lower income that suffer a loss of housing due to a wildfire. The department will provide assistance from the account in the form of grants in the amount of $5,000 each.

Eligibility guidelines and applications can be found here on the Oregon Housing and Community Services website.

Additionally, Oregonians who have lost their homes due to a wildfire can contact the Housing and Community Services Department at (503) 986-2062 or [email protected].

As a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Emergency Board, Rep. McLane plans to take action during next month’s Legislative Days to secure additional funding for the Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account in order to increase the amount of grants available as well as expand eligibility for the program. Currently, the amount of funding allotted for the program is capped at $50,000.

Senate President Peter Courtney and Representative Gail Whitsett joined Rep. McLane as chief sponsors of HB 3148-A.