A Gold Beach family of four who escaped but lost their home in a fire April 13 only has a few days left to find housing in town before their hotel stay ends.
The four were living in a mobile home on family property on Button Lane that burned to the ground in an electrical fire, leaving them without anything — from birth certificates to clothing and even the key to their vehicle, said Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA) coordinator Beth Hidalgo.
The family was denied home insurance because the mobile home was too old. They did not return phone calls asking for comment.
Officials at HeadStart, where the children are enrolled, contacted Hidalgo and others for assistance. ORCCA paid for them to stay in a local hotel for a week; WHOA paid for a second week — and time is running out.
The Christian Help Thrift Store opened their doors to let the family “shop” for basic housewares, clothing, toys and coloring books for the kids. They were referred to the local food bank and were helped to fill out every service related to housing assistance, Hidalgo said.
The organizations now hope someone might have a mobile home or fifth-wheel they are willing to donate to get the four back in permanent housing on the family property.
The family is comprised of the parents and a 5- and 10-year old, both of whom have special needs.
“The community’s rallying around in terms of getting immediate needs, but long-term, in terms of housing, is another struggle,” Hidalgo said. “It’s just amazing sometimes. You never know. You just have to ask and people will sometimes come forward.”
ORCCA and the family prefer the family stay in Gold Beach, she added.
“Everyone they lean on is in Gold Beach, so looking in another community to relocate them would not be ideal,” Hidalgo said, noting a Langlois resident said they had a mobile home the family could use. “They’d have to start over with a whole new support network. It’d be an easy fix and plug them in but from their perspective, if it’s not with their support network around them, it’s probably not going to be a good fit.”
ORCCA leases a residence in Gold Beach that is typically used to reunite families with children who have been placed in the foster care system. The family might have to go there but the home would be a bit crowded. The home features three bedrooms downstairs and two alcove areas upstairs.
“It’s not ideal for the size of the family,” Hidalgo said. “But it’s better than no roof over their heads at all.”
And paying for hotel rooms gets expensive, she noted, particularly as the summer tourist season starts to kick in.
The situation also highlights to Hidalgo how tight the housing situation is in Curry County — and how close to homelessness so many people can be.
It takes one catastrophe or one house fire to put them in the situation they’re in,” she said. “They were very traumatized; it’s a lot to grapple with.”
While the family lost all their important documents, copies were available through various agencies they have been involved.
“It won’t be as difficult as some folks who don’t have copies of those documents,” Hidalgo said. “Nonetheless it costs money. ID is $40, birth certificates are $30, and Social Security cards, you have to go to Coos Bay or Del Norte (County) for that.”
Anyone who might have a motorhome or fifth-wheel they are willing to donate may call 541-469-3155, ext. 365 or email Hidalgo at firstname.lastname@example.org.