Representatives discussed how the wildfires in the state had a ‘disproportionate impact’, affecting Oregonians with a low socioeconomic status.
The Oregon Department of Human Services says its leading with equity by providing shelter and food for a person, no matter whether fire victims are legal citizens.
Ed Flick, Director of Emergency Services for DHS, says the pandemic has made connecting with fire survivors difficult – slowing the process of getting survivors to resources they need.
“It’s a lot easier to talk to survivors when they’re in one place like a gymnasium, and to hear from them and see their needs, so we’ve had to rely on technology to communicate with folks,” said Flick.
The DHS also told the state reps over 1,100 people are still being sheltered following the fires and newly established ‘Multi-Agency Shelter Transition Teams’ are working to find temporary housing for people who have been displaced in affected counties.
It says Oregon had a 140,000 unit housing deficit that now stands at 144,000 following the wildfires.
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology.
In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.