UPDATE: Local Assistance Center open at COS

Deborra Brannon and Richard DuPertuis

A Local Assistance Center opened Sept. 23 at the College of the Siskiyous to help people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the Boles Fire.

The Center, located in Building Three (formerly the Life Sciences Building), is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through this Saturday, and perhaps beyond.

“They will make an assessment Saturday, to see if the LAC is still needed,” said Weed Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Justin Mayberry Thursday.

Affected residents will find federal, state and county agency representatives at the Center to help with document replacement, information on services available, and to answer questions about insurance and contractors, among other things, according to Mayberry.

“The purpose is to have all these agencies in one place, so that people don't have to drive all over the county,” he said. “People may need to replace documents lost in the fire, like driver's licenses, birth certificates, or Social Security cards.”

He said the assembled agencies can also assist with open cases dealing with social services, WIC and behavioral health services. CalVet is on hand to help with medications continuity. State unemployment reps are available to help with possible worker's rights issues, or ongoing claims.

Choice of contractors for cleanup

The CA Department of Insurance and the CA Contractors State License Board will also be represented at the LAC. Mayberry said the most frequent questions that have come up recently are those involving cleanup. He said those affected have a choice.

“We ask that people come in to City Hall and sign one of two documents,” he said. The first is a Right-of-Entry Permit, which would be signed by those who choose to let CALRecycle handle their cleanups,” he said.

This would cost property owners nothing.

“The way it works is the state has agreed to pay 100 percent for people without insurance,” he said. “If they are insured, the state will cover what the insurance doesn't pay. For example, if someone is covered for $10,000 and the cost of cleanup is $12,000, the state will pay the difference.”

He said CALRecycle will hire its own private contractors, which may come from other parts of the state.

The other document affected property owners can sign is a Denial of Right-of Entry form. Mayberry said this might be preferred by people with insurance. “The insurance company could hire any contractor, as long as he or she meets the requirements for cleanup.”

List of agencies at LAC

The following agencies can be found at the Local Assistance Center on COS campus:

• CA Department of Insurance;

• CA Department of Motor Vehicles;

• CalVet;

• CA Employment Development;

• CA Contractors State License Board;

• CA Franchise Tax Board; 

• CA Board of Equalization; and, 

• U.S. Social Security Administration.

Siskiyou County agencies and departments onsite will include:

• Recorder’s Office;

• Social Services;

• Children’s Services;

• WIC; and,

• Behavioral Health.

Also, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, California Southern Baptist Association, and Tsu Chi are onsite to offer help.

“Tsu Chi is out of Taiwan. They offer volunteers for recovery,” Mayberry explained.

For more information, the City of Weed has issued a list of eight hotline numbers to call.

These numbers are from 530-938-5034 to 5039, as well as 938-5041 and 938-5042.