Our Future After the Fire: Housing shortage

Action News Now is launching a new series of reports, Our Future after the Fire, each Thursday night and Friday morning exploring an issue with a long-term impact as a result of the fire.

Posted: Apr 5, 2019 8:06 AM
Updated: Apr 5, 2019 10:33 AM

CHICO, Calif. – Five months ago the Camp Fire ripped across Paradise, Concow and Magalia. Last July the Carr Fire destroyed some one thousand Redding homes. Life as our region had known it; changed forever.

As we move forward, Action News Now is committed to helping our community. Every Thursday night and Friday morning, our news team will take on the issues we all now face, in a new series, Our Future after the Fire.

Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough explores some of the primary issues set forth in a Chico Chamber of Commerce report which are having short and long-term impacts to the business and residential community.

Scott Brogden is like many in the area who lost everything to the Camp Fire. A professor at Chico State, the fire destroyed his Paradise home, taking with it thousands of dollars of tools, classic rebuilt cars, a full music recording studio, wood and tool shop. Despite the massive loss, Brogden says he is trying to stay positive.

Since the fire, he has been living with his parents in their home and alternating between an adjacent RV. He says finding a new home in Chico is challenging, especially finding something that is financially comparable to what he lost.

The Chico Chamber of Commerce surveyed the local business community a month after the fire to gauge the impacts to the workforce. 76 businesses responded, which represent more than 13-thousand employees. The results were compiled into the Camp Fire Special Report which indicated that short and long-term housing is the primary challenge facing the region. That is followed by public safety, roads and employee pensions.

Jolene Francis, with the Chico Chamber of Commerce, says the local economy is reliant on the ability of businesses to staff properly. She says if businesses are losing workers or are unable to hire employees, the region runs the risk of losing the business to relocation.

Francis also works with Enloe Medical Center and says the facility is concerned about the ability to attract, recruit and retain physicians if those individuals are unable to find suitable housing for themselves and their families.

It is a concern also shared by California Assemblyman James Gallagher, representing District 3. He recently met with those in the local building and contracting industry to discuss options for both private and public solutions to the housing issue. He says he does fear that the region could lose employers if there is not a way to house what he describes as a critical workforce.

Public safety was the next major concern expressed via the survey. For many who are in the Chico area, the region is experiencing an uptick in crime. During a recent Chico City Council Meeting, Police Chief Michael O’Brien revealed pre and post Camp Fire crimes statistics. The Chief says data indicates there is an increase in property crime, traffic accidents and domestic violence as well as a pattern the Chief says concerns him: that in both 2017 and 2018 there was an increase in violent crime.

For the community of Paradise as individuals begin to recover and rebuild moving forward comes with an equal measure of hope and fear.

For Scott Brogden, he says he is not sure that he would return, despite having called Paradise his home for more than 40 years. He says he is worried about the safety of the water and wonders, what will be done to prevent this type of disaster from happening again.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 783313

Reported Deaths: 15018
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2598176330
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino52287908
Orange518731127
San Diego44293796
Kern31261350
Fresno27560355
Sacramento21171375
Alameda20494374
Santa Clara20252296
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16289332
Contra Costa15734199
Tulare15599256
Ventura12236143
Imperial11558314
San Francisco1069697
San Mateo9522143
Monterey936066
Santa Barbara8846110
Merced8750134
Kings726877
Sonoma6998114
Marin6557112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer342841
San Luis Obispo336027
Yolo274054
Butte273835
Santa Cruz21898
Sutter164210
Napa160413
San Benito129011
Yuba11187
El Dorado10644
Mendocino83318
Lassen7310
Shasta66814
Glenn5503
Colusa5096
Nevada5066
Tehama4904
Humboldt4826
Lake45910
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1642
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 62°
Oroville
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 62°
Paradise
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 62°
Chester
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 32°
Red Bluff
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Willows
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 62°
Most of the forecast will remain pleasant and seasonable with big changes possible by next weekend.
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