Southern Oregon
Housing Study

The Almeda Fire Impact on our Latinx Community
  • The Southern Oregon Housing Needs Assessment is a community-engaged endeavor by Coalición Fortaleza and CASA of Oregon in informing housing recovery efforts and re-envisioning communal homeownership among Latinx mobile-home communities.

  • This study provides the first picture of the penetrating effects of homeownership loss among families of color, unsustainable rent burden and spike in housing insecurity, community social capital losses and identifies policies that can help alleviate these negative effects.

  • This is one of the first hyper-local specific surveys that utilize survey data and storytelling methods to capture the stories of Latino/x migrant and Indigenous communities of Jackson County impacted by the 2020 wildfires.
Study Background

        This Latinx-specific study is for the broader Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community, led by women of color with strong family ties to Southern Oregon disproportionately impacted by the Almeda Fire. Our embodied and lived experience plays a critical role in interpreting the data throughout this report. When we realized that no one was taking serious measures to account for the losses and damages of our people we realized that if we didn’t do something to document how we were being severely and disproportionately impacted, we would continue to be further marginalized. 

On top of the negative impacts COVID-19 had already had on our community with the significant job losses, the large majority of our peoples had now become houseless overnight and forced to seek refuge in overcrowded relief centers, extended family homes floors and garages, hotels, and RV’s in a time before vaccines were readily available. 

Our working-class communities who have for decades created solidarity economy networks to survive capitalism were now also tasked with finding ways to survive climate change in the middle of a global pandemic. We lost the neighborhoods we spent so many years building. Our tight knit community was scattered across the Rogue Valley. We know some families got in their cars to evacuate and they just kept driving. Many left the state entirely. Those of us who managed to stay are experiencing a new set of difficulties.        

          The climate trauma our community holds from the Almeda Fire broke us apart but it has also brought us together. We want to sincerely thank our community that participated and supported our efforts to create data for us and by us in attempts to fight the invisibilization. Climate change is disproportionately impacting far and worst BIPOC communities, poor working-class, disabled peoples, queer peoples, children and senior citizens and we need to tell our own stories. 

Thank you to our community members for trusting us and sharing so much vulnerably about this difficult topic. It’s no small request to interview someone about the worst night of their life in hopes of creating information that can help change their material conditions. We take our responsibility as community researchers very seriously and are grateful to our community for the bravery everyone had in sharing with us their personal stories. 

This survey helped us remember about the strong spirit that our people have. The aftermath of the Almeda Fire has given us the power to dream about the possibility of rebuilding something more beautiful than what we lost; it’s given us hope to keep fighting for a just recovery despite the odds.         

 

This report is one of the few comprehensive studies on migrant and Indigenous people from Latin America racialized as “Hispanic” or “Latinx/o/a/e” in Southern Oregon. The report is one of the few comprehensive studies that adds to an emerging conversation situating years of housing instability into the current wildfire and climate change situation. 

Our embodied and lived experience played a critical role in interpreting the data. The questions that shaped this participatory action research work were informed by the questions many of us and our community members had about ourselves and how we’ve been impacted. We all knew that we were disproportionately impacted and continue to face significant challenges on our journey towards a just recovery but we didn’t know exactly how much we were impacted. 

Our community is a major contributor to the local economy, not only working in the lowest paying essential jobs with little to no benefits being subjected to extreme losses in wages and work hours, but also as community members with significant contributions to the civic and political life of Southern Oregon. The compounding impacts and cumulative effects of injustice and neglect are great examples of our community’s collective strength and crucial data that can inform equitable policy measures and essentially, a just recovery.

         The findings of this study have confirmed our assumptions in many ways and it will allow us to inform our organizing, advocacy and community development strategies for
decades to come.

         We want to thank our community that participated and supported our efforts to create data for us and by us in attempts to fight the invisibility of how climate change is disproportionately impacting far and worst BIPOC communities, poor working-class, disabled peoples, queer peoples, children and senior citizens. We also acknowledge all the surveyors who led the collection of data for this project, the contributors and the scholars who supported us in writing this report, and the illustrators who worked on the graphic design. 

Our visions for these findings are not only to inform our strategy and work moving forward, but to also support the work of other frontline communities grappling with
the same challenges across the U.S. and the world. We stand with communities across the world currently fighting for a just recovery and preparing for climate emergencies yet to come.

Data Highlights
Full Study
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