Affordable Housing Opportunities for Wildfire Survivors

In 2018, the wildfires that burned across California proved to be some of the most destructive in history, and burned more acreage than any previously recorded fire season in state history. The worst of these blazes – Camp Fire – razed more structures than the next seven most damaging fires combined. More than 13,000 residences were destroyed, leaving residents homeless, and without affordable options.

Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) believes that they have a solution. Detailed plans for a tiny home village for homeless residents in the city of Chico were originally met with indifference. That was before Camp Fire. The impact of the wildfire brought a new reality – and urgency – for this project to help Butte County’s homeless.

According to NPR, the tiny home community –Simplicity Village – is planned to house homeless community members, and Camp Fire victims will get priority slots. Residents would pay just $200 per month for rent and utilities to cover the village’s operational expenses. In the short span since the fire, housing costs have risen dramatically, and affordable housing options are few and far between.

This isn’t the first case where manufactured housing has been used after a natural disaster in California. In 2017, the Tubbs fire tore through the city of Santa Rosa, destroying more than 2,800 homes. As of October 2018, the city was already on its way to using modular homes as home replacements. The Orchard Housing Community in Santa Rosa lost 67 homes in the Tubbs Fire. Three residents were able to walk through their new homes just a few weeks later.

In addition, HybridCore Homes – a factory-built construction company based in Santa Rosa – has helped residents across Santa Rosa, including the Coffey Park neighborhood, rebuild. The homes built for these neighborhoods are being placed much faster than their on-site counterparts, and saving at least 20 percent on development costs.

Since the fires, many organizations and companies have done what they can to help victims. HybridCore has had their office doors open to help fire survivors navigate the rebuilding process and educate them on the benefits of factory-built homes. CHAT is calling for more mobile home parks, affordable apartments, tiny home villages and other creative solutions for the city of Chico and surrounding areas to help fire survivors and the homeless population as a whole.