The group Burners Without Borders, along with the Burning Man camp called Camp Epic, are launching something in Santa Rosa called Oasis Village, on land that's being offered by a local businessman. The idea is to provide temporary housing to people who most need it, starting with teachers and families of students who attend Santa Rosa's Anova Center for Education a special needs school for children on the autism spectrum that serves 135 kids and burned to the ground on October 9. Between seven shipping containers and some other trailers, they hope to be able to house 75 people who currently have no homes, and the spaces are being offered to fireman, first responders, and nurses in the area as well.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported on the project, speaking to a member of Camp Epic, Jen Martini, who lives in Sonoma. "We’re trying to establish a village," she says of the project, which has been raising funds here to ship the containers from Nevada to California, which is happening this weekend. The group hopes to help the school reopen within a few weeks, with one mother of an Anova student telling the paper, "Routine is everything for these kids... a lot of the families lost their homes, and they don't have anywhere to take their kids."
The shipping container dormitories, some of which have three units per container, have been tricked out for comfort in the desert and already all have air conditioning, refrigerators, and bunk beds inside.
Additionally, Oasis Village is seeking donations of 25 more RVs, trailers, or temporary structures because they believe the property has room for them, and has capacity to house dozens more people in a communal environment. Also, Burning Man-style, they're seeking volunteers people who will be able to donate time to cooking and to "help with making the space warm and inviting."
Martini tells NBC Bay Area that they are also looking for donations of bedding, toiletries, and clothing as well.
Sadly, permanent housing is going to take a long time to rebuild in the areas hardest hit by the North Bay fires. That same mother of an autistic child tells the Reno Gazette-Journal that she applied for every house for rent on Craigslist in the days following the fire, offering to pay a year's rent upfront, but had no luck and heard that many of the available homes had 150 applicants each.