Committee assesses needs

First priority has been to make sure residents’ immediate basic needs are met.

– by Pastor Ryan van Kuik

The Rock Creek/Westbridge Fire Needs Committee has been meeting multiple times per week in order to determine the best course of action in helping those directly affected by the fire.

First priority has been to make sure residents’ immediate basic needs are met (food, shelter, water, and clothing). Next, the focus has been on finding solutions to what it will take to get through the coming winter (such as firewood).

Thirdly, the committee is working to determine those in most need of assistance in helping rebuild their homes.

Beneficiary criteria has been established in order to guide the committee. To receive assistance, one’s needs must be a direct result of the fire. On the question of insurance, only those under-insured or uninsured will be able to receive assistance (those who had their home insured may qualify for assistance in regards to other losses that were not insured). Primary residences will be considered before seasonal or income properties. Consideration will be given when one’s livelihood was affected.

Consideration will be given to those on a fixed or low income. Specific vulnerabilities will also be evaluated (such as age, health, family needs, etc.).

A large part of the task so far has been to coordinate the efforts being made. The hope is to not double up with another’s generosity and to make sure no one is over-looked.

In order for this to happen, the committee is working to be aware of individual needs, which organizations are willing and able to assist (such as Mennonite Disaster Service, Christian Disaster Service, Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity), and other local efforts. In order for this to be most effective, the committee is asking other groups/funds set up to communicate with them as partners. Coordination of debris removal is also being worked on.

Based upon the criteria, the committee has been working to prioritize the needs. Those who have lost homes and are considered primary candidates for assistance are being notified as to funds and services available to them.

Any donations made to the Rock Creek/Westbridge Fire Needs Committee will be issued a tax deductible receipt. You can donate either by stopping by the Greenwood branch of the Heritage Credit Union or by mailing your donation to Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, 202 – 843 Rossland Ave., Trail, B.C., V1R 4S8.

While the RDKB has been generous to donate the handling of funds and receipting, it is the local committee that determines where and how the funds are spent.

If you have any needs or questions, feel free to contact Vicki Gee at 250 446 2042 or vgee@rdkb.com.