Phoenix and Talent consider possible housing solutions after Almeda Fire

Talent and Phoenix are working together to come up with short-term housing plans to get a roof over people's heads according to Talent city manager Sandra Spelliscy.

Posted: Sep 28, 2020 8:04 PM
Updated: Sep 29, 2020 12:31 PM

TALENT, Ore. -- Talent and Phoenix are working together to come up with short-term housing plans to get a roof over people's heads according to Talent city manager Sandra Spelliscy.

Before the wildfires and Coronavirus pandemic, she said there was already a housing crisis in Oregon. These two factors made matters worse.

Spelliscy said around 800 structures in Talent got destroyed in the Almeda Fire. She said around 700 of those structures were homes. An apartment building is considered one structure, making it hard to determine exactly how many people are now displaced. Spelliscy estimates that number to be around 1,500.

She believes Governor Brown's eviction ban is a step in the right direction, but not a solution for everyone.

"You know the eviction moratorium is great for people who already have housing," Spelliscy said. "It's not going to be any kind of long term solution for folks who need housing and need places to go."

Spelliscy says the city is going to have to get creative with housing ideas. The city is first looking at short-term transitional housing. She said the city is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Red Cross and other non profit organizations. She said these groups have been helping provide people with motel vouchers and other short-term living spaces.

Spelliscy said the city is looking at mobile homes and trailers as an option for people to stay in while properties are being rebuilt.

"The difficulty is going to be kind of the midterm housing that gets us to a point where we can start rebuilding properties and thats whats more problematic," Spelliscy said.

She said it's going to take years to build Talent back to the way it was before the fire and this is why important to make temporary housing for people who lost their homes. She said the city wants fire victims to still feel apart of the community and wants to make sure they will not be forced to move away.

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