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Home News Latest Supervisors approve updated agreement for Valley fire transitional housing

Supervisors approve updated agreement for Valley fire transitional housing

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LAKEPORT, Calif. – On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors approved an updated agreement to cover the transitional housing needs of a small group of Valley fire survivors, some of whom did not qualify for federal assistance.

The second agreement the board approved with Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa calls for a maximum compensation of $136,713 for the four-month period it covers.

Carol Huchingson, who continues to do double duty as the county's Social Services director and the Valley fire longterm recovery coordinator, went to the board to request approval of the second agreement.

Huchingson explained that the resort – which closed in 2009 – was reopened to house survivors after the Valley fire broke out in September.

She praised the resort for its efforts to help house dozens of survivors since then. “They have done an incredible job and continue to do so.”

Originally, the resort refurbished 48 rooms, which the county paid for them to do. The county also paid the resort a flat rate for room occupancy, Huchingson explained.

For the first two months after the fire, the county covered the cost of the rooms at a rate of $1,000 per room per month, she said.

As the need grew, more rooms were refurbished, with Huchingson reporting that the peak housing need at Konocti Harbor was 81 rooms.

The second agreement, Huchingson said, will reimburse Konocti Harbor for $3,000 per room for the additional 33 rooms – covering both refurbishment and occupancy – that hadn't been covered under the original agreement.

Huchingson said that some fires survivors – for various reasons – did not qualify for FEMA housing assistance. Nevertheless, Konocti Harbor has allowed them to stay without paying. 

She estimated about 10 households staying at the resort haven't been able to pay. The new agreement would reimburse Konocti Harbor for those survivors unable to pay from Dec. 1 through the end of March.

The total compensation would be $37,713 – if everyone stays until the end of March, Huchingson said.

She said the county will work with Konocti Harbor to develop a notice to make it clear to the survivors staying at the resort that they need to begin making other housing arrangements in order to be out of the resort by March 31.

Huchingson told the board that the county had to terminate the original contract with Konocti Harbor earlier than anticipated because, when FEMA came on the scene, everything changed in terms of how payments were made.

The Golden State Finance Authority made grant funding available to cover the county costs under the agreement with Konocti Harbor, Huchingson reported.

“We're pleased to have secured this additional funding source to go back and take care of Konocti. They've just done an outstanding job,” she said.

Supervisor Jeff Smith asked for a breakdown of the contract's costs.

Huchingson said $99,000 covers the refurbishment and occupancy of the 33 rooms added to the original 48 rooms that were to be made available to survivors. 

To cover the people who cannot afford to pay due to having no housing assistance, the county will pay a total of $37,713, Huchingson said.

She said the resort has based its charges on a daily occupancy rate in the event people leave before a full month is out.

During the discussion Huchingson also explained the FEMA pays eligible survivors in two different ways – either through its temporary sheltering program, which pays a daily motel rate for people who qualify, or it provides rental assistance directly to qualifying survivors, and it's up to them to enter into a landlord-tenant relationship and pay their landlords themselves.

She said some people have entered into a landlord-tenant relationship with Konocti Harbor and so are paying them directly.

Huchingson estimated that there were 15 to 18 individuals at the resort continuing to receive the temporary sheltering assistance while they waited for FEMA manufactured housing units being installed at the Clearlake Resort in Clearlake.

Supervisor Jim Comstock moved to approve the agreement, which passed 5-0.

Email Elizabeth Larson at elarson@lakeconews.com . Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.

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