Carr Fire Evacuation from One SAFE Place

Thank you to Alayna Shulman and the Redding Record Searchlight for taking the time to re-tell the story of what happened at One SAFE Place Shasta when we had to evacuate 40+ people from our shelter due to the #CarrFireLink to read the story in The Redding Record Searchlight here.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been two weeks since that long weekend of evacuations here in Redding, aka one of the most exhausting weekends of my life.

I think it’s important to note that as in all writing, there are many details of this story that have been minimized or left out, not because they’re not important, but because of understandable space, time, and editorial constraints. Some of these details are:

My amazing supervisor/Associate Director, Jennifer Morgan, and her boyfriend, who showed up at shelter in the nick of time to help move people out. Without them, it would have taken multiple trips through hellish traffic to get everyone out, and I honestly don’t know how that would have even worked.

Autumn at Empower Tehama (Red Bluff), Paula at WEAVE, Inc.(Sacramento), Caedy at Human Response Network (Weaverville), and Anne at Catalyst Domestic Violence Services (Chico), all of whom responded immediately to my calls for help with finding temporary shelter for clients, offering encouragement and support even as I know they each had a million other things happening because that’s the way things go when you work for domestic violence and rape crisis centers.

OSP’s longtime volunteer Joanne Akman, who herself had been evacuated and who still took time to hand deliver *freshly smoked* tri-tip as well as veggies, watermelon, snacks, and other goodies to my house so that we’d have enough food to feed everyone.

My incredible staff from upstairs – Lindsy, who stayed with everyone at shelter until I got there even though her own home and her family’s homes were in danger at that point; Kim, who went to track down and check in on clients that Monday, and who even welcomed one family into her own home because that’s where they needed to be; and Ariana, who showed up in the midst of the madness on Thursday without being called, just to see if she could help.

OSP Prevention Educator and Crisis Hotline Coordinator Ksarah Nance, who held things down on the Crisis Hotline more or less by herself all weekend, which is so, so, SO much more difficult and exhausting than it sound

OSP Board Member and RPD Captain Bill Schueller, whose weekend I’m sure was a million times more stressful and exhausting than mine, but who still found time to keep me and Jennifer updated regularly about when we’d be able to get back to the Sierra Center.

Every single person who donated fresh food, new pillows, diapers, and other supplies to restock the shelter after the power had been out. You helped us welcome our clients back to the only home they have right now.

Of course, my endlessly supportive partner, Mat, who didn’t hesitate to say yes when I asked if I could bring people to our house, and his mom, Jan, who took in a caravan of people just before midnight and made sure there was a full breakfast spread the next morning.

And finally, every single person staying in shelter during this mess, none of whom made any part of the evacuation more difficult than it already was, and all of whom make me so grateful to get to do the work that I do.

As our community rebuilds, please remember that the families we serve at One SAFE Place are in as much need as ever.

Access to safe, affordable housing is in many ways THE key to leaving, and thereby surviving, an abusive relationship. The rental market in Redding was tight before the fire, and it’s only going to be tighter now that so many have tragically lost their homes. This means that the demand for services from One SAFE Place will be that much higher, our staff will be asked to do more than ever, and your support will be needed every step of the way.

Oh, and PS: If you’re in Red Bluff, go by Scoops, Red Bluff because that chocolate milkshake was seriously delicious, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I almost cried when, in response to my asking for the largest size they could give me, I was handed the equivalent of a Big Gulp.