Creative Housing Solution For Wildfire Victims Awaits Green Light

SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — Fire victims relying on shelters are facing an uncertain future.

People say they need creative solutions for housing. One option is the Oasis Village, which is the brainchild of the Burning Man group, Burners Without Borders.

It’s still at its beginning stages and still trying to get the city permits and electrical permits that are necessary.

But it could house up to 75 people in converted shipping containers complete with beds, mini refrigerators and communal kitchen with showers and bathrooms.

Oasis Village will be free, temporary housing for fire victims. A Burning Man camp, named Camp Epic, gifted ready-to-use shipping container housing.

The clock is ticking, as shelters continue to close and people worry about where they will go.

After their homes burned to the ground and a month of living in fire emergency shelters, the harsh reality sets in: some shelters are closing.

The fire emergency shelter at Santa Rosa’s Finley Community Center closes on Tuesday morning.

“I watched the flames come up over the bridge. I smelled the smoke,” said Karen Lopez, who is living in a temporary shelter.

“The point is, once this happens we have got nowhere to go,” Lopez said.

While the 34 people still staying at the Finley Community Center will be sent to other temporary shelters, what happens once those close down?

Sheila Barnhill is looking for housing and said, “Good families are going homeless — working people — because they have nowhere to go.”

Barnhill’s mother, Peggy Reese, is also looking for housing.

“It just really makes me upset, nervous,” said Reese.

Another possibility: a rental property manager trying to help.

Cindy Heatherington with KPM Property management explained why she stopped by the shelter.

“So I came to list a couple of houses that I have for rent. And I have about $900 worth of gift cards we’re handing out,” Heatherington said.

For those who can’t afford the rental market, creative housing alternatives may be the only alternative.

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