The Kern Valley Long Term Recovery Group has been hard at work helping survivors get closer to housing recovery after the Erskine Fire.
The Executive Committee has been working very hard to obtain needed funding and volunteers to help the survivors. We are currently working with Kern County and other agencies to find programs and funding that can help rebuild the community. We have been working with survivors who just needed a little help toward recovery. Several survivors were able to obtain a mobile home and have it placed on their property but were not able to finalize hooking up to the utilities and other finishing features before they receive “move-in” approval from the Kern County Building Department. Through volunteers like Pastor Angelo Frazier at Riverlakes Community Church in Bakersfield, we have been able to assist families with electrical, plumbing, digging ditches, building retaining walls, adding skirting and many other final items that were needed. Many thanks go out to Pastor Frazier and his groups of volunteers who have come up every 2 weeks to assist us with these projects. With the community’s seed money and other contributions, we have also been able to assist a survivor who is rebuilding his own home and continue to do so. Several of our volunteers are skilled tradesmen who have volunteered their time and expertise, and other unskilled volunteers were right there with them learning how to properly get the job done!
We have also been working with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS*) on starting construction of at least two homes in the next month or so. We currently have enough funding to start these two homes from donors who designated their donations go to rebuilding after the fire. Although the donations are very generous, we are looking for additional funding and donations in the hopes of rebuilding more homes. We are very excited to “break ground” as the planning process has taken quite a long time. It is our hope that once we start the first home that other home(s) will move along much quicker. We have many ongoing projects and could use more volunteers and funding. We have an Allocations Table where donors can join other donors to help fund these projects, so no donation is too small!
If you would like to volunteer, have funding resources or need assistance please contact our Case Manager, Lucy Hernandez, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches dedicated to responding to natural and man-made disasters in Canada and the United States. Their aim is to assist the most vulnerable community members, individuals, and families who would not otherwise have the means to recover. MDS volunteers – men and women, youth and adults – provide the skills and labor needed to respond, rebuild, and restore in the wake of a disaster. MDS is known for having a collaborative spirit, and they work with other groups including faith-based organizations, local recovery committees, and both governmental and non-governmental agencies. MDS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.