Los Osos Cares Responds to Emergency
Ruth Ann Angus
Even as the waters from creeks and excessive rain began to flood the neighborhoods of Los Osos and Morro Bay, California, on January 9th, the folks at Los Osos Cares were already jumping into actions to help.
Upon hearing of families who were experiencing flooding of their homes and others who were stranded or evacuated for safety, the staff at Los Osos Cares began inquiries to community funders for assistance. “We were pleased to receive $7000 from the SLO Community Foundation for flood relief and another $3000 to help undocumented individuals who were impacted by the flooding,” Executive Director Linda Quesenberry explained. These funds were made available to people impacted by the flood especially if they were forced to evacuate their homes and had to rent other space for shelter.
Just obtaining a motel room for the night of the incident proved to be difficult for many due to power outages that left motel managers unable to process a credit card. “Unless a person had enough cash to pay for the room.” Quesenberry said, “they couldn’t get a place.” For some obtaining some of the emergency funds that Los Osos Cares offered saved the day (or night).
Annette Sheely of Ester Bay Womenade set to work utilizing communication through Facebook to rally people to come out and help people whose houses were flooded and covered in feet of mud. Many folks grabbed their shovels and came to the aid of those so impacted. Information about where to go for temporary shelter was also communicated. Places like the Morro Bay Community Center opened their doors for stranded individuals to have a roof over their heads and place to rest. Both city and ordinary residents pitched in obtaining food through the Resource connections so those sheltering would have something to eat.
Work then turned to assistance for those impacted to obtain federal funds for repairs. Los Osos Cares has volunteers on hand to assist with the federal paperwork and any other source of funding they may need.
It is difficult to understand what losing one’s home to a disaster of this sort is like for someone without experiencing it. Sheely spoke a lot about the trauma she saw in the eyes of those impacted. Referrals to agencies that could help with that trauma are available. There are also two psychologists available at Los Osos Cares for those who need that service.
In an area where finding decent housing is next to impossible due to lack of inventory and high rents these impacted people face a difficult next few months. Temporary housing is almost unknown here and consider the fact that one must still pay a mortgage no matter that living in the premises is impossible. Then adding the cost of a high rent for however long it would take to repair the home could force some into extreme financial difficulty. Renters may have lost their furniture and other belongings and face trying to find other shelter. Whether many have flood insurance is unknown. What is known is that there is help available. Anyone needing any kind of assistance is encouraged to call the office at Los Osos Cares at 805-592-2701.