Owners of Affected Property Encouraged to Connect with their Case Managers

Owners of Affected Property Encouraged to Connect with their Case Managers

For property owners impacted by the 1/9 Debris Flow, the road to recovery can seem like a tremendous challenge. It’s important for everyone—whether their structure is tagged yellow or red—to know that they have a personal advocate, an experienced and well-trained staff member from Santa Barbara County’s Planning and Development Department.

“We’ve assigned a case manager to each property to help guide homeowners as they navigate their recovery and rebuilding process,” said Jeff Wilson, the division’s deputy director. “Each case manager is an experienced planner, knowledgeable about the permit process, historical records, and other possible hurdles that can be encountered in the rebuilding process. Our case managers have professional degrees and go through extensive in-house training, so they can be most effective in helping property owners with the process.”

After working with one of her assigned families for two months through phone calls and emails, Case Manager Nereyda (Rey) Montaño was happy to finally meet them in person. “Their house was completely destroyed,” Rey explained. “They were excited to finally meet me, too, and said they feel at ease knowing they can ask questions about the rebuilding process to a single ‘point person’ who is already familiar with their property,” she said.

In another case, Rey has developed a close working relationship with a property owner whose home was significantly damaged as she decides how she would like to move forward. “We had a meeting with the owner and other County staff earlier this month and she called us her own little ‘County team,’ helping her every step of the way,” Rey added.

To date, the Planning and Development Department reports that a little more than half of the owners of affected properties have connected with their case managers. “We sent a letter to each property owner, but we understand that this process take time,” Jeff Wilson says. “In some cases, people are dealing with the loss of life and other devastating issues. We’re not setting a timeframe and we want everyone to know we’re here when they’re ready.”

For more information, contact the Planning and Development Department at (805) 568-2090 or visit the Planning and Development Department’s website.

Contact Office of Emergency Management

4408 Cathedral Oaks Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Phone: 805-681-5526