CALIPATRIA — The County of Imperial secured 33 travel trailers from the State of California for the victims of the Niland fires, June 28, and as of Friday, July 31, 21 families have received their keys from the County and are moving in.
The trailers are the second phase of emergency housing — the first step being rapid housing through hotels, and the last step is getting families permanent housing. Trailers were donated by the State and came with all utilities and facilities. Some are single bed while other are three bed, but all contain a kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, restroom, and couch — all the comforts of home except the television.
The trailers will be loaned to the families as part of the temporary housing efforts from Imperial County, according to Imperial County Deputy CEO Esperanza Colio. After two to three months, when clean-up and property repair is finished, they will move the trailers. Families are required to keep the trailers clean and undamaged.
Currently the trailers are at the Del Yermo RV Park, but families have the option to move the trailers to their property once everything is cleaned. Colio said the County also made sure family members who previously lived next to each other will be placed next to each other. This was possible through the County and funding to prevent homelessness.
Each family received supplies from the County — all marked with the number of members in the family. Supplies included non-perishable food items, water, toiletries, kitchen utensils, non-toxic cleaners, bed sheets and comforter sets, and baby supplies. Stance Socks also donated socks, underwear, shirts, and toys and games for children.
All donations came from within the Imperial Valley community, including Comite Civico del Valle, Campos Unidos, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, and Home Aid San Diego. Volunteers were on hand to transport supplies.
“I felt happy, even though I know it’s only temporary,” said one Niland resident about getting a trailer.
“We’re going to have a place to live for now, rent free, and that’s going to be a big help and we’re going to be able to save for the future,” said another Niland fire victim.
Imperial County Supervisor Luis Plancarte said the Board’s goal is to give the people of Niland something to start the recovery process with the long-term goal being permanent housing. Plancarte said the saying of the Valley is “Imperial Valley strong,” and the response the Imperial Valley community has given to the Niland fire victims is proof of that.
“Here is proof that of what the community does, how they come together to help each other, and that makes me very proud to be a part of this community,” said Plancarte. “It’s humbling, and it makes me want to be more involved in the community as a whole to help recover as soon as possible.”
Colio said she is submitting applications to the State to request continued services and she is looking for more funding to help with securing permanent housing.
“We just ask for the families to be patient with us,” said Colio. “We will get to the point that we are able to provide something for them.”