2020 Wildfires

Recovery support

We will be maintaining this page as a resource for our Northern California community impacted by the LNU Lightning Complex fire, and other fires across the state.

Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the fires, and to our brave first responders who are working tirelessly to protect our neighborhoods.

Be safe & thank you!

 

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We’re here for you.

If you were affected by the recent fires, we want you to know that our entire team is here to support you.

At Homebound, we know there are few things as devastating as losing your home. Our founding team lost homes in the Tubbs fire of 2017, and were driven to build a company that has helped hundreds of homeowners navigate this daunting process.

Take the first step.

Homebound offers every service you’ll need to rebuild, including lot assessments, debris removal, and rebuild claims advice, under one roof. These first steps will empower you with the information you need to make the plan that’s right for you.

Disaster relief

If you’ve been evacuated or impacted by wildfire, access critical information or support here.

The first 30 days

Finding a place to stay

Nearby family or friends and hotels tend to be the quickest temporary shelters to find during an evacuation.

If you have lost your home and have insurance with ALE (Additional Living Expenses) coverage (most do), you can get reimbursed for hotel bills and other living expenses, like laundry and meals for the first several weeks. Then you have time to find a long term rental.

Airbnb, VRBO, Zillow and other sites usually have options for longer rentals, and may have special programs for wildfire evacuees. For the uninsured, the best thing is to find the nearest rescue shelter. They can provide food, clothing, and shelter, and they are trained to help you figure out next steps after a crisis, including rental assistance and long term plans.

If you have to evacuate animals or livestock, the American Red Cross’s Red Rover program can help. Some pet hotels in San Francisco have offered free pet boarding for those impacted by wildfire evacuations.

Returning to your property

If your neighborhood has been impacted by fire, you may want to return to check on your home. The situation with the LNU Lightning Complex is still evolving, though, and it is imperative to follow local county orders.

To check on any damage your home may have sustained before your evacuation order is lifted, we recommend calling your local county by dialing 2-1-1.

If your home sustains heavy damage, the county will take possession of the lot, and access to the site without special permission will be prohibited until the debris is tested for toxic chemicals such as lead and asbestos.

After the lot is turned back over, maintain caution when visiting the site. Embers beneath the first layer of debris may flare back up when exposed to oxygen, and smoldering areas on the ground can be hard to spot.

Be sure to wear heavy duty boots, bring your mask, and avoid wooded areas, as trees may fall unpredictably for the next several weeks or even months.

Be safe, and when in doubt call your 2-1-1 to get advice from your local fire department. The American Red Cross and County of Sonoma also have terrific resources on returning home safely.

Visiting your Disaster Response Center

After a large scale wildfire, most jurisdictions will open a disaster response center, in addition to shelter. There you can apply for replacement of your vital documents and inquire about all the government and non-profit resources available to survivors such as the American Red Cross, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), SBA (Small Business Administration), and other secular and non-secular community based organizations that provide aid after a disaster.

Local Assistance Centers have opened in Healdsburg and Guerneville to support those impacted in the Walbridge & Meyers fires.

Healdsburg – 1024 Prince Street, Healdsburg

Guerneville16390 Main Street, Guerneville

Both centers will be open Saturday, August 29 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM, and Sunday, August 30 – Friday, September 4 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM daily.

 

Forwarding your mail

If your home has been destroyed, your local post office will hold your mail, typically for up to 30 days.

Once you have determined where you’ll be, you can request mail forwarding through the USPS website here. Many important documents may come through the mail, including insurance correspondence, so it’s best to set this up as soon as you are able to.

In addition to mail, you may also need to cancel utilities to avoid being charged for services like garbage. Contact your utility directly to cancel these services.

Supporting your mental health

Fleeing a wildfire or losing a home is devastating and can be a traumatizing life event. Trauma impacts everyone differently and can take many forms, so keep an eye out for symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, memory loss, or atypical emotional outbursts, which may indicate anxiety, stress, and/or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). These can show up weeks and months after the disaster.

If you or a loved one are struggling, there are resources available to help. Agencies like Sonoma County Health Department, NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness), and the American Red Cross can put you in touch with the right professionals to help you and your family on the road to emotional recovery. The Red Cross also offers free counseling through the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1(800) 985-5990. 

Reporting your losses

It’s important to notify your insurance company within the first few weeks if you’ve incurred damage to your home.

If possible, talk to a specialist who represents homeowners before you are interviewed by your insurance provider in detail. They will ask you to make a list of items that you lost, as well as their estimated value.

Organize any invoices, contracts, permits, and other documents pertinent to your insurance claim in a binder, and add in notes from every time you talk to your insurance company. 

Third party insurance adjusters are available to advocate for you in these discussions, but they do take anywhere from 5 to 10% of your insurance proceeds as payment.

Homebound’s rebuild advisors can help you determine the right path for you, and offer consultations to those impacted by the 2020 wildfires – reach out to us at (707) 244-1101 or email support@homebound.com to schedule a consultation.

Removing debris

The county or state will eventually organize debris removal on your lot, but you can also opt to use a private debris removal service provider if you’d like to move more quickly, or if you want a better chance of preserving your home’s original foundation.

If you are able to preserve your foundation and reuse it in the future, this could save you tens or hundreds of thousands in rebuild costs.

If you choose to use a private debris removal provider, make sure that the company is licensed and insured. A few indicators of a reputable and well-managed debris removal company are uniformed employees, well-marked vehicles, and a good number of positive and unbiased customer reviews online.

Homebound has worked with many debris removal providers and can recommend local options across Northern California. Feel free to contact us at (707) 244-1101 or email support@homebound.com for debris removal advice.

We're here to help.

We’ve supported hundreds of families as they navigate the overwhelming process of recovering from natural disaster. Our local team is available to help. Reach out to us at (707) 244-1101 or email rebuild@homebound.com to schedule a time to discuss your recovery journey.

Contact us