Wildfire Recovery and Resilience Account Program
The Oregon Legislature appropriated over $150 million in state funding for housing recovery of people impacted by the 2020 wildfires, of which about $36 million was allocated to the Wildfire Recovery and Resilience Account (WRRA) program. The program funded shelter, clothing, and essential services for those impacted by the wildfire. It also provided housing and housing support to households who were made houseless by the state’s wildfires.
The overarching goal of the program was to move participants into intermediate or permanent housing that would be affordable, acceptable, and safe, while acknowledging that some participants would have to stay in temporary housing (e.g., hotels) while permanent housing was built or obtained. OHCS designed WRRA in response to feedback from wildfire impacted communities around how the state could best support their recovery needs. The program followed a “housing first” philosophy, which worked to increase equity by reducing barriers to program entry such as income requirements, housing readiness, sobriety, and employment in favor of housing participants as quickly as possible.
WRRA offered participants a flexible, individualized approach for housing assistance by connecting them with community action agencies (CAAs) who worked to identify the right solution for participants’ unique needs. This included rapid rehousing for people who lost their primary residence or were displaced and providing housing navigation support to complete their recovery.
WRRA supported impacted households with two main categories:
- Rental assistance and related supports
- Damaged housing replacement, rehabilitation, reconstruction incentives
Rental assistance and related supports included activities such as:
- Housing rental costs (rent payments, rent deposits, and late fees)
- Manufactured housing unit (MHU) or RV pad or lot rental space
- Utility payments and connection fees
- Moving costs, including moving in and moving out
- Security, pet, and utility deposits and application fees
- Landlord incentives (signing bonus, turnover cost mitigation, security bonuses, payment of rental insurance, etc.)
- Flexible assistance: Furniture, household goods and supplies, work-related items (tools, work clothes, etc.)
Damaged housing replacement, rehabilitation, reconstruction incentives included activities such as:
- Manufactured home purchase
- Manufactured home installation
- Repairs to owner-occupied MHUs and travel trailers
- Rebuild or reconstruction of stick-built owner-occupied homes
Other assistance was provided by WRRA including the following:
- Acquisition of real property for affordable rental housing
- Rehabilitation of a hotel for temporary housing
- RV purchase for temporary or permanent housing
One core focus of WRRA was to deliver housing assistance utilizing a housing first approach, supporting participants impacted by the 2020 Oregon wildfires. While WRRA did not have an income cap, priority was given to low- and moderate-income households.
WRRA supported 450 households with intermediate/temporary housing during the life of the program. Intermediate/temporary housing includes shelters, short-term rents, and Fortify Properties housing. Many households receiving support with intermediate/temporary housing were also supported with other WRRA activities, including permanent housing.
The primary goal of WRRA was to support permanent housing solutions for the households impacted by the 2020 wildfires.
WRRA supported 867 households with a full recovery from the wildfires, by helping to secure safe, affordable, and permanent homes.
Over 65% of the households supported by the WRRA program were 80% AMI or below.
FEMA Direct Housing Mission (AKA, “FEMA trailers”) was closed in spring of 2022, no survivors families were left without a home. That is very unusual and a testament to the very talented community action agency teams supported by WRRA funding.
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