Camp Fire Survivor Moves Back Home

March 29, 2023
Couple staring at Camp Fire


Like so many in Butte County, Leon* lost his home in the devastating 2018 Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California history. Since then, Leon had been living in a recreational vehicle on his property.

While the RV had some creature comforts, Leon said it was cramped and not designed for permanent habitation. In addition, Leon’s temporary occupancy permit was expiring, and he was on the verge of being asked to vacate the property. Thankfully, Leon moved into his new home just in time.

“I’m excited to be out of the RV and in a real home,” Leon said.

Leon received assistance from HCD’s RecoverCA Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Program (OOR), which helps eligible homeowners apply for gap funding to help rebuild a home damaged or destroyed by a federally recognized natural disaster. After Leon completed a pre-application survey and was invited to apply for the program, Leon’s case manager, Amelia*, helped him navigate through the application and construction process. Once construction began, it took less than ten weeks to complete. Last month, Amelia and three representatives from RecoverCA Construction Management were thrilled to hand Leon the keys to his newly built home.

“I would like to thank all of the people who have worked to make this possible,” Leon said. “(ReCoverCA) did an outstanding job building my house. I have a happy future thanks to my new home.”

Amelia, also a Butte County local, volunteered at a local church that supported and sheltered evacuees during the Camp Fire. She said helping Leon and others complete their RecoverCA applications and navigate the process has been rewarding. On the day of the key turnover, Amelia said, “(Leon) gave me a big hug. He gave me a tour and was excited to say the spare room is for his grandkids to stay.”

The ReCoverCA program continues to rebuild homes throughout California, with many more key turnovers expected in the near future.

“(RecoverCA) has been a godsend to me and those of us who suffered from the fire,” said Leon. “We lost so much, and now we’re building our lives back. Thanks to you all.”

For more information on the RecoverCA program, please visit our website at For questions, please contact program staff at (916) 202-1764 or email

*Names have been changed for privacy.