Burners Without Borders Ends Effort To House Fire Survivors In Santa Rosa

By Christi Warren
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Burning Man shipping containers, on loan from a camp in the annual arts and music festival, were brought from Nevada to an industrial lot in southwest Santa Rosa in an effort house victims of the Santa Rosa fires. However, permit issues and a lack of funding turned out to be too big of a hurdle.

The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

A plan to house up to 75 people displaced by October’s wildfires in converted shipping containers on loan from Burning Man has come to an end, with organizers citing difficulty in navigating Santa Rosa’s permitting process and a related inability to secure funding.

Burners Without Borders, an international disaster relief group, trucked the seven converted containers to Santa Rosa at the end of October, just as firefighters were nearing full containment of the blazes.

The idea, said Carmen Mauk, co-founder of Burners Without Borders, was that the metal containers — designed like tiny homes with beds, shelves, electrical wiring and mini fridges — could be of use to people in immediate need of housing.

Organizers originally were reserving the spaces for teachers, first responders and those in the medical field, but as the permitting process dragged on and those groups found housing, the focus changed to support local laborers, Mauk said.

“It’s just really discouraging,” she said of the scuttled plans.

The case reflects the hurdles that face some smaller aid efforts in setting up temporary housing within the city in the wake of the fires. A separate trailer camp established by a Santa Rosa contractor for his debris cleanup workers received special dispensation this week from the city after running into permit issues that could have cost him up to $10,000 a day in fines.

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