EUGENE—Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch today applauded the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) approval of Lane County’s request for a direct housing mission following September’s deadly wildfires.
The housing assistance will allow FEMA to provide a range of temporary housing options including transportable temporary housing units, direct lease, and multi-family lease and repair. Housing assistance for qualified individuals and households may be available for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration (through March 15, 2022).
“This is tremendous news for the hundreds of Lane County residents who have been in other temporary housing for months,” said Rep. DeFazio. “As we enter a new year, this decision will provide these families with some much-needed certainty for the months ahead. I’m grateful to FEMA for their continued support as Lane County works to rebuild after this fall’s devastating fires.”
“After seeing firsthand the destructive impact of the wildfires last September on Lane County communities, I’m glad this housing help is available for families who need this assistance so urgently,” Senator Wyden said. “This aid is a must in these cold winter months, and I’ll keep working with FEMA and the delegation on all the work that’s needed to continue recovering and rebounding from these blazes that ripped through homes and small businesses alike.”
“When I spoke to the folks who lost their homes in the McKenzie Valley region during the unprecedented wildfires last fall, it was clear that they were shaken and uncertain what the future held, and urgently needed all the help FEMA could provide,” Senator Merkley said. “This direct housing assistance is a critical step toward rebuilding. I’m pleased we were able to work with FEMA to deliver resources for the community, and I’ll keep pushing for every distressed family to qualify for resources.”
“A FEMA direct housing mission is absolutely critical to restoring the McKenzie River community, reconnecting neighbors, bringing children and their families back to their school district, and providing safe housing while residents work to rebuild,” said Commissioner Heather Buch, who represents the McKenzie area. “We are thankful for the support of our State partners and our federal delegation, including Congressman DeFazio, Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden, who were tireless advocates of our appeal. We are ready to continue our work with FEMA to get people into housing as quickly as possible. We are committed to supporting McKenzie River residents at every opportunity.”
The lawmakers repeatedly pushed FEMA to approve Lane County’s application. In October, after FEMA Administrator Gaynor toured the damage from the Holiday Farm fire, DeFazio personally delivered an appeal to urge the Agency to grant Lane County’s request.
After FEMA denied Lane County’s initial request in November, DeFazio led a congressional delegation effort to appeal the decision.