SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) – A shortage of labor has stalled rebuilding efforts in one of Santa Rosa’s hardest hit neighborhoods.
Losing their homes was hard enough, but now there’s another setback for some victims of the wine country wildfires.
The sight and sound of rebuilding is music to the ears of Dan Bradford, who is rebuilding his home. He’s hoping to move back to Coffey Park by May.
“My focus was to resume some type of normalcy for me, whether it be getting on my bike and riding, or taking my dogs out and running them, I had to have some normalcy. This is a big step toward normalcy.”
Contractors started just before New Year’s Day.
While Bradford’s house is taking shape, his neighbors are still in limbo and will likely take a little longer to start the process.
Some of them were in talks with DeNova Homes based in Concord.
But the large homebuilder sent out a letter this week to some fire survivors, canceling plans to rebuild homes.
The company says its trade partners “cannot currently guarantee the resources that are necessary to implement our cost-effective production model.”
No one at DeNova Homes talked on camera Friday, but The Press Democrat learned that about 75 homeowners were in serious talks with the company.
Bradford said he really feels for those people.
“They’re back at ground zero to try to figure out what they’re going to do,” he said.
Folks with Lake County Contractors say it was tough to hire quality contractors when there was a shortage, even before the firestorm.
Rob Williams with Lake County Contractors said, “People who were busy before can’t stop what they’re doing to jump over here to come now.”
Lake County Contractors rebuilt 30 homes destroyed in the valley fire. They have the experience.
Kelli Brown with Lake County Contractors said they’ve been doing it for the past two years and that they’re familar with the permit process.
Bradford says his will be the first of many more homes to go back up.
“It’s to instill hope that others can do the same thing,” Bradford said.