Jackson County Fire Fund applications open up

Jackson Co., Or.- The United Way of Jackson County started collecting money for it’s fire relief fund nearly two months ago. Now the organization is accepting applications to give away half a million dollars to victims of the Almeda and South Obenchain fires.

The first wave of applications have officially opened up to give grants to fire victims. The process is pretty straight-forward and can award victims to $2,500 per family.

“We’ve received gifts from 47 states and five foreign countries,” said United Way of Jackson County CEO Dee Anne Everson.

The Jackson County Fire Fund was set up the evening of the Almeda fire nearly two months ago and is collecting money from across the world. Everson tells me the $2.4 million raised so far exceeds what the organization typically collects in an entire year.

“We’re taking this first half of a million dollars and helping people who are resettling already,” Everson explained.

Now the organization is preparing to start giving back.

“We already have over forty applications in less than 24 hours,” the CEO said.

The application is open to everyone impacted by the Alemda and South Obenchain fires regardless of their citizen status. The only documentation applicants need is proof of residence and 3rd party proof of loss, like an insurance report, FEMA report, or photos of the damage. Only one application is allowed per household.

Everson says the Rogue Valley is shifting out of immediate fire response and preparing for the long haul.

“When you have a disaster you have that immediate relief phase and we are sort of exiting that part,” Everson said.

The one-time grant is available now. But Everson encourages people to continue to donate.

“We need help to be able to help people and there are plenty of ways to be engaged and committed to helping rebuild our community.”

You can find applications in both English and Spanish on United Way of Jackson County’s website. Applications are due by November 15th.

Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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