VENTURA, Calif. - With over 527 buildings lost in Ventura to date, actor Zachary Levi wanted to do all he could to lend a helping hand to the city he grew up in.
“I am from Ventura. I grew up in Ventura. I grew up literally right down the road of Foothill and Victoria," said Levi. "I went to Buena high school. I mean this is my hometown. I was in Los Angeles watching it burn and I was feeling incredibly helpless.”
The Thor actor partnered with GoFundMe as they set up a fundraising campaign. Levi will match donations up to $50,000. The donation will go to the victims who need it the most.
“It’s important that we find these families," said Levi. "I am just trying to raise as much money as we can. I promise you that all that money is going to go directly to whoever needs it.”
For more information about the Zachary Levi campaign visit https://www.gofundme.com/zacharylevi?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=zacharylevi.
The fire may be out in Ventura, but now residents who lost homes are starting to find other places to live.
Mike and Dana Stoneking watched their house burn down on television last week. It was the only house destroyed on Georgetown Ave. in Ventura.
“The hydrant ran dry," said Stoneking. "The fire department had no water to put our house out. ”
Despite losing everything the Stonekings are in good spirits. Everyone got out safe, and when they returned to their house the next day Mike found his wedding ring.
But what comes next after everything is lost including your marriage certificate?
“Basically what we are doing is we are providing services under a one-stop shop for anyone who has lost or has been impacted by the fire,” said Curtis Updike, the deputy director of Human Services Agency.
The City of Ventura has opened an Assistance Center for those who have been affected by the Thomas fire. Thirty-five organizations from non-profits to public agencies are working together providing guidance and help to those who lost everything.
“ Everything from social services to State services, to county services, is here under one roof," said Updike. "Everyone that has lost their home and is worried about what they are going to do with the debris from the home, and when they can enter their property are all questions we can answer.”
Help to find temporary housing is also provided. Although local realtors are warning about fraud on the rise.
“There is, unfortunately, rental fraud out there," said Sean O'Toole, a realtor at Keller Williams in Ventura. "People are renting houses that aren’t theirs. There’s been fraud out there before the fire, but I think since the fire it has increased.”
For more information on local housing visit https://www.theotoolegrouprealestate.com/thomas-fire-resources.