Chico, a community of 90,000 is now home to 20,000 new residents seeking refuge from neighboring Paradise after the Camp Fire of November 2018. Chico, like many American cities, was dealing with its own issue of homelessness before the Camp Fire, plus a very low vacancy rate. Now Chico has a 20,000 person increase in population and officials and citizens are working on housing solutions for two distinct populations that are intersecting.
Yes, the news can seem dire. Another tornado, a storm, a flood, lives lost, homes destroyed, families and their larger communities devastated. The cameras and news teams leave after the major tragedies are caught on film. Then what happens? Good things. Good things happen. Volunteers come out of the woodwork. Some are with highly trained crews; others are individuals from a neighboring town. Even more are locals. More people come because the same thing happened to them a few years ago. The common thread between all of these people who show up to help is that they want to do good work. They want to feel helpful, connected, to give hope and possibility at a time when it is hardest for the victims to see that possibility.