IMG 1653Miranda Hernandez and her mom, Adelina, stand inside their new home. Credit: Adia White.

Standing in the Fountaingrove neighborhood, you can see the scar of the Tubbs fire stretch across the hillside. Two years later, the trees are still charred and the sounds of reconstruction are constant.

Among the buildings under construction are the Sonoma Wildfire Cottages. These nine homes, built by Habitat for Humanity, provide immediate relief to families still living in temporary housing after losing their homes in the Tubbs fire. The cottages range from about 400 to 750 square feet and the rent is based on what residents can pay. 

15-year-old Miranda Hernandez and her mom will be renting one of them. Hernandez can’t remember whether she’s moved five or six times since the fire destroyed the home they rented in Coffey Park. 

Her story is not unique. A survey conducted for Sonoma County in January found that more than 10,000 people are living in temporary housing because of the Tubbs fire. About half of respondents said their homes burned and the other half said they could no longer afford them due to the economic impacts.  

“It was kind of scary and stressful at the same time because I would just see my mom struggle trying to find out where are we going next,” said Hernandez. 

Housing instability takes a toll on health. And that may be more critical in the case of young people. In fact, research shows that adverse childhood experiences determine health outcomes in adulthood. 

“We know that the more that you have, there is a cumulative effect that you are more likely to experience mental health issues as an adult,” said Adrienne Heinz, a clinical psychologist for the National Center for PTSD. “But also physical health problems, like diabetes, obesity, cancer.” 

Sonoma CottagesThe cottage Miranda Hernandez will soon move into. Credit: Adia White.In the aftermath of a disaster, these Adverse Childhood Experiences, called ACES by psychologists for short, can add up quickly. 

“So you have the fires, but that tends to be just the beginning when you’re thinking about the cascade of events that comes with displacement,” said Heinz. “So they experienced threat to their person, they might have been immediately threatened to their safety, but it also means that they lost important anchor points in their life. Maybe they’ve had to change schools, maybe they lost their social support, economic difficulties, the cost of having to replace everything they lost.”

For fire survivor Miranda Hernandez, translation was one of many things added to that list of obstacles. Her mom is a monolingual Spanish speaker and Miranda had to help her navigate a web of complicated resources and communicate with landlords. 

“Sometimes it’s like stressful or frustrating because I don’t want to do it sometimes,” said Hernandez. “I have things to do right, but sometimes, I have to be there for her too, just like she’s there for me.”

While these cottages provide a lifeline, they’re not a permanent solution. In two to five years, they will be relocated to Santa Rosa and sold to moderate and low-income families who meet the qualifications.

If the county is going to meet the needs of the thousands of unstably housed, there will have to be a comprehensive mix of creative solutions. Will local government rise to this challenge?

 
 
 
Pin it

Coronavirus Resources

  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    April 20, 2020

    Tips for Spotting Fake News Stories — And Where to Find Sources You Can Trust

    Anytime there’s a significant news event — like a global pandemic, for example — you can expect misinformation to spread across the Internet. “Fake news” means stories that contain fabricated information, or information that’s based on rumor, shoddy methodology or a partisan agenda. With the…
  • Picture1
    April 17, 2020

    Recursos Alimentarios Durante COVID-19

    La alimentacion es una gran prioridad para muchos durante esta pandemia de COVID-19- cómo mantener a su familia alimentada en medio de despidos del trabajo, preocupaciones sobre salidas para conseguir comestibles y la posibilidad de transmisión por medio de los alimentos, todo mientras se trata de…
  • Groceries
    April 14, 2020

    COVID-19: Food Resources

    Food is top of mind for many during the COVID-19 pandemic — how to keep your family fed amid layoffs, concerns about grocery outings and food transmission, all while trying to maintain social distance. If you’re struggling to put food on the table, have questions about food safety or need help…
  • 200323 F BQ566 9001
    April 10, 2020

    COVID-19: Recursos Para Indocumentados y Sin Beneficios

    English version available here. A medida que la pandemia de coronavirus da vuelta la economía de la nación y deja a muchos sin trabajo, los inmigrantes indocumentados son particularmente vulnerables. En esta página encontrará recursos para ayudar a los miembros de la comunidad indocumentados y que…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    April 07, 2020

    COVID-19: Resources for the Undocumented and Uninsured

    As the coronavirus pandemic upends the nation’s economy and leaves many without work, undocumented immigrants are particularly vulnerable. On this page you’ll find resources to help undocumented community members and the uninsured. UndocuFund for Disaster Relief in Sonoma County The UndocuFund,…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    April 03, 2020

    COVID-19: Santa Clara County Resources

    Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department is providing detailed information about COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospital capacity on several data dashboards available online. The county has also assembled a variety of COVID-19 resources, as listed below and found at sccphd.org/coronavirus. Food…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    Apr 03, 2020

    COVID-19: How to Help

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take lives and strain resources, you might be wondering how you can help. Perhaps the most important thing you…
  • SR PD
    Mar 31, 2020

    Santa Rosa Police Department Mourns Loss of Detective

    Updated March 31, 2020, 4:00 p.m. The Santa Rosa Police Department reported today that Detective Marylou Armer passed away from complications from…
  • Medical
    Mar 31, 2020

    Coronavirus Resources

    The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for communities throughout the world. Whether you need help getting access to food, filing for…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    Mar 30, 2020

    COVID-19: Financial Resources for Sonoma County Residents

    California and the nation have seen a surge in unemployment claims as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to close their doors, leaving…
  • Library photo for website
    Mar 30, 2020

    Help the Sonoma County Library Tell the Story of Life During COVID-19

    The Sonoma County Library will be documenting life during the coronavirus pandemic with a special collection, and you’re invited to contribute. The…
  • 032920CalMattersEmptyRestaurant
    Mar 29, 2020

    California’s Shelter-In-Place Order, Explained

    By Byrhonda Lyons, CalMatters As President Donald Trump considers easing national restrictions by Easter, Californians are into their first week of…
  • 032920DowntownSantaRosa
    Mar 29, 2020

    Santa Rosa Outlines COVID-19 Support for Homeless

    The city of Santa Rosa says it’s following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect people experiencing…
  • gavin schools
    Mar 28, 2020

    Los Angeles Will Mirror New York As Coronavirus Surges, Newsom and Garcetti Warn

    By Judy Lin, Ben Christopher and Matt Levin, CalMatters Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued dire warnings Friday that the…
  • 032820CovidHandwashing
    Mar 28, 2020

    COVID-19: Sonoma County Resources for Seniors and Vulnerable Populations

    On March 17, Sonoma County’s health officer issued an order for all residents to shelter in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The order…
  • 032720CoronavirusResearch
    Mar 27, 2020

    Here’s What Happens to Science When California’s Researchers Shelter in Place

    By Rachel Becker, CalMatters As California officials desperately try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Chris Miller is coaxing a sample of…

Fire Recovery & Youth Health

  • September 17, 2019

    Trauma Threatens To Impact School Attendance In Paradise

    Driving to Paradise, you will pass a memorial for the more than 80 people who died in the Camp Fire. The crosses sit on a small knoll off Skyway, the four-lane road between Paradise and Chico. Almost everyone in town used this road to evacuate last November. The students in Paradise Unified School…
  • IMG 1790
    September 16, 2019

    Paradise School Counselors Address High Rates of PTSD Among Students

    Clinical social worker Laura Besser points to a mural outside the administration office at the new Paradise Elementary School. The students were relocated to this campus, which used to be the middle school, after their elementary school burned down in the Camp Fire. In the center of the mural is…
  • Kids writing
    September 14, 2019

    Educators Use Poetry to Help Kids Talk About Trauma

    Kids at Schaefer Elementary write their poems. Credit: Margo Perin. Third-grade teacher, Tracy Henry, points to an American flag hanging in her classroom at Schaefer Elementary. The flag is melted along the edges, it shows just how hot the classroom got when the Tubbs fire swept through Santa Rosa…
  • 44162019920 7fe79b631d c
    September 13, 2019

    Fire Recovery & Youth Health

    The California Army National Guard clears debris in Paradise, California. Credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Crystal Housman)On the night of October 8, 2017, the Tubbs, Nuns and Pocket fires swept through Northern California, destroying more than three thousand homes, leveling…
  • IMG 1717
    August 23, 2019

    October 2017 Wildfires Are Affecting Crucial Health Programs

    Image: Ashley Vejar and son Angel. Photo courtesy of the subject. Kemberly Mahiri shows me one of the hundreds of thank you cards she and other counselors for Sonoma County's Teen Parent Program have received. “It just chokes me up every single time,” Mahiri tells me. The program currently has a…

NorCal News

  • vaccine 5873170 1920
    February 24, 2021

    The County is Nervous about Blue Shield's Vaccine Takeover

    On March 7, Blue Shield of California will start administering Sonoma County’s vaccine rollout. The nonprofit insurer will take over the data collection and decide how many doses each provider receives. They’ll also streamline the sign-up process, making most appointments available through…
  • vaccine 5895477 1280
    February 19, 2021

    County Shifts Vaccine Priority to 65 and Up and Food Workers

    On Monday, residents 65 and older, along with food manufacturing, grocery store and restaurant workers will be eligible for a vaccine at one of the county-supported clinics. Prioritization will be given to those with server illnesses, such as cancer or kidney disease. The decision to expand…
  • vaccine 5926664 1280
    February 17, 2021

    The County Still Faces a Vaccine Shortage

    Two months into Sonoma County’s vaccine rollout, 19% of the adult population has received at least one dose. The county is keeping up with other Bay Area counties in vaccinating residents and has opened up dozens of clinics, but the biggest problem has been the same since day one: the county isn’t…
  • vaccine 4946480 640
    February 10, 2021

    The County Reaches for More Vaccine Data

    Officials say Sonoma is administering vaccine doses at a faster rate than similarly sized counties. On February 10, officials announced the county has vaccinated nearly 50 percent of its residents who are 75 and older. But because of holes in statewide and local data collection, knowing exactly…
  • final 4896425 640
    February 09, 2021

    The County Compromises on Eviction Limitations

    On February 9, Sonoma’s Board of Supervisors voted to place more limitations on evictions during COVID-19. The amendment limits evictions to extreme circumstances, like when landlords can prove their tenants pose an imminent threat or danger, or when they’re taking the property off the rental…
  • February 06, 2021

    Sonoma County Extends Stay-At-Home Order

    State public health officials have extended a Stay-Home Order for the 11-county Bay Area region, including Sonoma County. The move comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and ICU capacity for the larger Bay Area region remains below 15%. The order will remain in effect until the state’s four-week…
  • vaccine 5873170 1280
    Feb 03, 2021

    The County Promises an Equitable Vaccine Rollout

    Earlier this week Sonoma County reaffirmed its commitment to vaccinate the oldest seniors first, those 75 and older. Younger seniors were told to be…
  • corona 5174671 640
    Feb 03, 2021

    What We Need to Know: COVID in Sonoma County

    What are the current county restrictions? Sonoma County is currently in the most restrictive purple tier of the California’s Blueprint for a Safer…
  • Nurses protesting outside of Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. Photo courtesy of the California Nurses Association.
    Jan 31, 2021

    Santa Rosa Nurses Demand Safe Staffing

    UPDATE: Earlier this week California’s Department of Public Health halted the staffing waivers. The State says they will not accept any new…
  • injection 5722329 1920
    Jan 27, 2021

    Sonoma County Opens its First Clinic for Oldest Seniors

    Sonoma County is following the state’s guidance to prioritize seniors ages 75 and up in its vaccine rollout. While there’s progress and hope in the…
  • Student doing homeowork.
    Jan 21, 2021

    County Strategizes Reopening Schools

    Covid-19 is rampant in Sonoma County and spreading faster than ever, which means kids are still stuck at home. While vaccines are being rolled out,…
  • pbs
    Jan 13, 2021

    PBS Employee Makes Controversial Statements on Hidden Camera

    Julian Wyllie of CURRENT news reports in a story entitled "PBS Distances Itself from Former Staff Attorney Ensnared in Project Veritas Sting," that…
  • COVIDdec2020
    Dec 06, 2020

    Understanding the New Regional Stay-At-Home Orders

    Regional Stay Home Orders will go into effect within 24 hours in regions with less than 15% ICU availability, and prohibits private gatherings of any…
  • Screen Shot 2020 11 20 at 5.37.26 PM
    Nov 20, 2020

    Radio Special: Democracy In Santa Rosa's First District

    In 2020, for the first time, residents of Southwest Santa Rosa voted for a city council member to represent their community. The election gave more…
  • IMG 9357
    Nov 11, 2020

    Rohnert Park Welcomes Three New Council Members

    Rohnert Park has three new city council members. The wins also mean there will be more diversity on what was formerly an all-white council. One of…
  • Biden Harris AM
    Nov 09, 2020

    ‘She’s From Oakland!’ Photos Capture Bay Area Celebrations of Biden-Harris Win

    By Anne Wernikoff November 8, 2020 In the corner of California where Vice President-elect Kamala Harris grew up and launched her political career,…

NorCal News Radio

Science & Health News

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.