HBF Helps Forest Fire Recovery

Brenda Ketah, HBF Executive Director (left) and Chris McDowell, HBF Project Manager (right) present a $10,000 donation to Pat Olsen, Board Chair of CCLTRG (center)

One year from when smoke filled the skies from Clackamas County wildfires, rebuilding efforts are underway.  Home Builders Foundation- HomeAid Portland (HBF) presented a $10,000 check to the Clackamas County Long Term Recovery Group (CCLTRG)in early September to support the rebuilding efforts, and to help bridge the funding gap for a low-income family to rebuild.

The Clackamas County LTRG is a coalition of community members and nonprofits offering free assistance to anyone impacted or displaced in the 2020 wildfires. HBF and HBA of Metro Portland are providing ongoing support by serving on the CCLTRG’s construction committee.

In addition, HBF has donated kitchen cabinets, subflooring and other construction materials to help with a community wide effort to restore what was lost.  Many of the homeowners affected by the Clackamas County fires were either underinsured, or not insured at all. The Federal Emergency Management Agency allows a maximum of $35,000 towards construction rebuilding, leaving many survivors to find they could not afford a rebuild on their own. The CCLTRG is helping survivors with materials, expertise, and manpower.

With the assistance of the CCLTRG’s construction committee, the first home is now underway and the second will start soon. Kimberlee Ables, CCLTRG communications director says about the first home “The couple is extremely grateful for the support they have received from the CCLTRG and partners willing to step up and help them rebuild their lives.” The funding HBF is providing will benefit the second LTRG  home, which will help a low-income family of three whose home was made unlivable from extreme smoke damage .

The home building community contributions to the Clackamas County effort are substantial.  HBA Metro Portland member Blue Mountain Community Management also awarded $10,000 to help the families through Associa’s national nonprofit organization, Associa Cares earlier this year. HBA member Milgard/MI Windows is providing all of the windows, Precision Truss and Lumber came through with a discounted lumber package and Pacific Crest Building Supply provided new kitchen cabinets. All told, the first Estacada area rebuilt home will receive more than $200,000 in donations of time, materials, and resources.

The financial support for the homeowners will allow them to move back into safe, comfortable homes as soon as possible.  These homes will be fire hardened and have defensible space to help mitigate future wildfire damage.  However, recovery will not be swift for all. It is anticipated the rebuilding all lost homes could take as long as 3-4 years. In addition, construction costs have soared during the pandemic, up an estimated $35,000 per home.

Rebuilding wildfire-destroyed and damaged homes also prevents survivor households from falling into houselessness which ties directly with the mission of Home Builders Foundation-HomeAid Portland.

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