Post Fire Case Managers Overwhelmed

Feb 7, 2020

Firefighters work on a controlled burn at the Camp Fire, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Magalia, Calif.
Credit John Locher / AP Photo


About 34 people from a host of charitable organizations were in Chico Thursday, brushing up on ways to assist Camp Fire survivors—it’s more than a full time job.

 

They arrived at the Salvation Army’s new Chico campus for a day long case manager training.

They’re among 13 funded by FEMA, meant to provide guidance and aid to tens of thousands displaced by the fire. They are being joined by another 21 paid for through private charities, and a few volunteers. 

 

 

Jessica Rounds, who aided recovery after a massive fire struck the Columbia Gorge, leads a training for disaster case managers in Chico,
Credit Marc Albert

Stephanie Gregorio, Disaster Case Manager Supervisor for the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, has been trying to secure services for those in need since August.  

 She says the top priority is obvious. 

 

“Housing’s always number one up there for most, especially if they were uninsured.” Gregorio said.

 

She agreed with county officials who have been counseling those receiving Section-8 vouchers to leave the region, if not the state entirely. But, she says there are often reasons why people can’t.  

 

“Shared custody with kids, kids in school, taking care of parents here, etcetera." Gregorio said.

 

Officials say the wait for a case worker is about six months. If everyone awaiting  help was assigned today, each caseworker would be responsible for about 1,200 people.

 

Matt Plotkin Executive Director of the Camp Fire Long Term Recovery Group, said FEMA’s guidelines say each caseworkers should be serving about 35 people. 

 

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