Truckee group works to find places to stay for Tahoe evacuees
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. — As the Caldor Fire raged throughout the week, and the list of evacuations (both mandatory and warnings) grew, many evacuees have found themselves without a place to wait out the orders.
Hotels and evacuation centers filled up fast once the flood gates opened, to the point where the Reno Events Center has become the latest to open its doors to help manage the load.
Truckee local, Jenelle Potvin, had been watching the fire since it broke out and knew as the evacuations got closer it was only a matter of time before Tahoe got the call.
“I wanted to do something positive,” said Potvin. “I immediately blocked off my Airbnb and got in touch with friends in South Lake Tahoe to see who needed a place to stay. I saw random posts on social media for houses available and wanted to collect these all in one place.”
Potvin is quick to add that this is not her effort alone. She has a team of people that are donating time and effort to help coordinate finding others who are willing to open up their homes across the region for evacuees.
After setting up the online forms for evacuees and hosts, the group of volunteers obtained the donated services from well-known Truckee attorney Brent Collinson, who drafted the release of liability for the hosts.
“It’s a reassurance that people won’t get sued if someone gets hurt in their house,” added Potvin. “People are given a 24-hour notice to vacate but this is not a landlord-tenant situation.”
Once the evacuee fills out the form a quick vetting process happens. The form consists of fields like the address evacuated from, number of people in the party, if pets are included, and preferred place of location. It’s given a quick online check for red flags and then gets further discussion with a volunteer to get a deeper understanding of their situation.
Every night, people who have signed up to be hosts are sent an email of people, their needs and ones that are highest priority.
Most of the hosts have donated space at no charge, but some have asked for deposits. Donated space has come in a variety of different forms, from single rooms, to land for RVs, to multi-million dollar homes. To-date, Potvin noted there have been 287 people that have filled out the form offering places to stay.
Some of the biggest challenges Potvin notes have been pets, size of the group, and vaccination status. But, regardless of those challenges, the group continues to work and find solutions until the orders are lifted and people can return home.
If you are an evacuee seeking placement assistance, or would like to participate as a host, you can follow the indicated link below.
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