FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, August 18, 2021
Elib Crist Dwyer, (541) 292-3417, email@example.com
Phoenix Fire Relief Site Closing on Saturday, August 21
[Phoenix, OR] — After almost a year since the Obenchain and Almeda Fires, the Phoenix Fire Relief Center at the Shoppes at Exit 24 will be closing its doors on Saturday, August 21 at 6PM. The Phoenix Fire Relief Center was started immediately after the Almeda fire by Phoenix-Talent School District teachers. In late-September, coordination of this project was transferred to Rogue Climate, Rogue Action Center, and Southern Oregon Health Equity Coalition who were running other fire support centers across the valley at the time.
“The Fire Relief Center is closing but this is not an end to Rogue Climate’s commitment to our neighbors who survived the fire. We will continue to support fire survivors, organize to bring our neighbors home, take action on climate change, and build communities that are more resilient to disasters,” said Blanca Gutierrez, Bilingual Organizer at Rogue Climate. “This incredible community effort is an example of what can happen in the Rogue Valley to respond to climate disasters and other crises.”
The Fire Relief Center has made a big impact on the lives of fire survivors in the Rogue Valley, including:
- Supported 450 to 800 households every week with food and supplies.
- Community members donated over $100,000 worth of supplies to fire survivors. Additional supply donations were made by Rogue Valley Relief Fund, Grassroots Action Project, ACCESS, Relief Angels, Ashland Emergency Food Bank, Cascade Relief Team, and many others.
- Volunteers worked over 10,000 hours to keep the Fire Center running.
- Connected fire survivors to the Jackson County Community Long Term Recovery Group (jccltrg.org) and Disaster Case Managers for additional guidance through the recovery process moving forward.
- Built connections between fire survivors, as a meeting place to find each other or share resources, tips for recovery, and emotional support.
- Financially supported fire survivors getting back on their feet through visa gift cards, emergency shelter and rent support through Rogue Climate and SO Health-e, and support applying for grants.
“It has been amazing to watch the community come together to support each other at this hard time. None of this work would be possible without the hundreds of volunteers, donors, and organizations who committed to showing up for their community,” said Elib Crist Dwyer, Housing Justice Organizer at the Rogue Action Center. “We know there are still hundreds of fire survivors looking for housing in our valley and the Rogue Action Center is committed to working with our community to bring all of our neighbors home to housing they can afford.”
“This past year has challenged the community in many ways – the fires, the pandemic, the ongoing impacts of systemic racism, and the stress effects for families trying to find housing are heavy,” said Michelle Glass, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at SO Health-E. “We’ve been able to reach many more community members through the Fire Relief Center to assist people back into stable housing and ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines, both of which are important for community health.”
Free lunch and dinner for fire survivors provided by Rogue Food Unites will continue to be served at the Shoppes at Exit 24 through August 31. Starting Wednesday, September 1, meals will be served every day at the 1st Phoenix Presbyterian Church (2nd & Church St) instead of at the Shoppes at 24.
Rogue Climate and the Rogue Action Center will be hosting a “Fire Survivor Supply Pop-Up” at Living Waters Church in Medford in early October. More details to come soon on Rogue Climate’s website here.
Fire survivors who need support can reach out to the Jackson County Community Long-term Recovery Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or jccltrg.org/contact to be connected to a Disaster Case Manager for guidance in the recovery process.