THOMAS FIRE

Red Cross Providing Caseworkers for Montecito Mudslide Victims

The organization is encouraging residents to call them so they can make an appointment with a caseworker who will help them navigate paperwork, make referrals and obtain financial assistance.

The American Red Cross is providing caseworkers to help people affected by the deadly Montecito mudslides.

The organization is encouraging residents to call them so they can make an appointment with a caseworker who will help them navigate paperwork, make referrals and obtain financial assistance, should they qualify. Those looking to make an appointment with a Red Cross caseworker are asked to call 805-669-6638.

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Residents can either meet a caseworker at the Cavalry Chapel of Santa Barbara, which has been set up as the local assistance center, or they can arrange to meet at another location, including their home, said American Red Cross spokeswoman Jocelyn Hillard. Caseworkers are available to meet at the chapel between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. during weekdays and between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The center is expected to remain open through Saturday, Feb. 3, but people can make an appointment to meet with a caseworker after that date, Hillard said.

Drone footage captured the aftermath of heavy rain and mudslides in Montecito on Jan. 9, 2018.

Those who do not qualify for financial assistance will still receive other Red Cross services, including access to referrals, snacks and water, clothing vouchers, physical and mental health services, and "spiritual care" services, the organization said on its website.

People can also pick up supplies at the U.S. Post Office at 2245 Lillie Ave. in Summerland and at Montecito Fire Station No. 2 at 2300 Sycamore Canyon Rd.

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Residents are still struggling to recover after a Jan. 9 storm unleashed mudslides and heavy flooding on the coastal town of about 9,000. More than 100 homes were destroyed and at least 21 people were killed as debris and boulders flowed through the city.

Montecito had been left prone to such mudslides after the Thomas Fire - the largest wildfire in modern California history - wreaked havoc on the area at the tail end of 2017, burning away the vegetation that usually holds the soil in place.

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