Survivors of Labor Day Fire at FEMA Housing Granted Extension | Oregon News

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A state-granted extension gives survivors of the 2020 Labor Day wildfires in southern Oregon an additional six months of FEMA housing.

FEMA guidelines call for housing assistance up to 18 months after a declared disaster, giving survivors of the 2020 fires until mid-March to find new homes.

But FEMA spokesman Paul Corah said finding permanent housing for people was slow in an area with low housing inventory, KTVL-TV reported.

Typically, extensions are granted in three-month increments, but the severity of the damage in Rogue Valley prompted the six months. Of 190 units provided to families of fire survivors, 154 are still in use in Jackson County.

Housing programs in Marion, Lane, Lincoln and Linn counties received similar extensions.

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Residents were able to stay in FEMA units while paying only utilities, but those staying beyond April 1 will start paying sliding scale rent.

“FEMA is working with survivors on what that scale is. The minimum is $50,” Corah said.

Corah said FEMA also has a sales program, allowing residents to purchase the units.

Oregon’s 2020 wildfire season destroyed more than 4,000 homes, killed nine people, and destroyed 1.1 million acres (445,154 hectares). Almost all of the damage occurred over a dramatic 72 hour period. It was a wake-up call for the Pacific Northwest as climate change brings destructive blazes to wetlands and cityscapes.

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