SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - There is a new, one-stop spot to serve as a central source of support, information and resources for residents, businesses, employees and communities affected by the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow of January 9.
The Montecito Center for Preparedness, Recovery and Rebuilding opened Thursday at 1283 Coast Village Circle in the Lower Village of Montecito, bringing resources straight to the folks who need them most.
NewsChannel 3 stopped in Thursday morning and found a slew of people from various agencies on site to help residents stopping by.
Supervisor Das Williams made himself available for people with questions and concerns dealing with the county.
“I encourage the community to use this new center as a central resource to receive support, information, give input and to get involved in our community recovery process," Williams said. "My staff or I will be there every day to provide support as well.”
An employee with Planning and Development was there Thursday to help with permits; grief counselors and a photo conservation expert were also on site, among others.
The County expressed special thanks to local philanthropists Paul and Jane Orfalea and Natalie Orfalea for allowing use of the Montecito Center building at no cost and to the United Way of Santa Barbara County for contributions toward a dedicated staff member who will serve as the first point of contact for individuals.
"Residents can come give us their input, give us their feedback, ask questions, complain ... we want to hear it all," said Ben Romo, a member of the Santa Barbara County Joint Information Center. "We want this to be a center for the community to come and be part of those recovery, response and preparedness efforts."
The Montecito Center for Preparedness, Recovery and Rebuilding will be open at different hours, Monday through Saturday.
Romo said the facility is expected to remain open for the next four months and possibly longer, if needed.
"We really need real-life stories, real-life input from people who are living and experiencing life, day to day, in these high-risk, extreme-risk areas so that can inform our approach that we take," Romo said. "That information can filter up through the chain of command."
The phone number for the Montecito Center for Preparedness, Recovery and Rebuilding is 805-845-7887 and the email address is: email@example.com.
The center will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wednesday only will have hours in the evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.