Local assistance center helps a dozen Tick Fire victims on opening day

The County of Los Angeles hosts the Tck Fire Recovery Local Assistance Center at The Centre in Canyon Country Wednesday morning. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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More than a dozen residents impacted by the Tick Fire received information and services for their recovery process Wednesday during the opening day of the temporary local assistance center at the city of Santa Clarita Activities Center.

Through a joint effort between the city of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County, victims of the blaze, which ignited last Thursday and destroyed 23 homes, had the chance to sit down with multiple agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles for replacement of driver’s licenses and registration, the county’s Office of the Assessor to obtain property tax relief and the Department of Consumer Affairs to learn how to identify and avoid scams. 

“Losing one’s home and property is absolutely devastating,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “Those who are going through that should know that we have this emergency center with multiple agencies to offer the services needed in order to try and make these residents whole again.” 

Visitors asked where they could access fresh food as several who evacuated returned to their properties without power. Others asked legal questions, such as who is responsible for the cleanup process, according to Caroline Leverette with 211 L.A. County, an information service for county residents. 

At least five families whose homes were declared a total loss stopped by Wednesday seeking property tax relief. 

“What that means, in a nutshell, is if your home was destroyed in the fires, you come and fill out a form that we have, and you will then get your property tax removed from the roll,” said Assessor’s Office spokesman Stephen Whitmore. “Let’s say your home was worth $400,000 and let’s say the tax is 1.5 or 1.4, that’s like $4,000. That’s removed from the rolls and that stays removed until it is repaired, rebuilt or replaced.”

For those with renters and homeowners insurance, the California Department of Insurance said those affected should contact their insurance agent or the department for help with transportation, hotel, food and other costs associated with evacuations. 

Three tips Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara advised to those affected by the Tick Fire: 

  1. Keep all receipts accrued during the evacuation.
  2. Take an inventory of your belongings, including one’s garage, kitchen and vehicles, to avoid having to recount all property post an emergency.
  3. For those considering to file claims, do so immediately to receive all resources necessary as soon as possible and prevent fraudsters from providing misinformation.  

The local assistance center, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, is open through Monday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more info visit lacounty.gov/recovery or dial 211. 

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