Support services for employees impacted by the wildfires and evacuations

To: UC Santa Cruz Employees

From: Sarah Latham, Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services

En espanol

Every faculty and staff member reading this has been impacted in different ways by the wildfires that are active in our region. Some of you have evacuated, some of you are hosting individuals who have been displaced, and sadly some of you have lost your homes in the fires. Through the efforts of many team members, we have identified several support services for the variety of needs you may face. They are outlined below.

As we undertake these support efforts, we are also working diligently to identify those who have lost their homes in the wildfires. If you have lost your home, we invite you to share that information using this form. Note that this form is intended for those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed and are no longer inhabitable. The purpose in collecting your information is so that we can directly support you. If you have been displaced from your home due to evacuation, and are not sure of the status of your home, you do not need to complete this form.


Employee Information Hotline 

Beginning Monday, Aug. 24, a new Employee Information Hotline will be launched. Individuals may dial in via phone or log-in through their smart devices to obtain information regarding benefits, donations, and time reporting among other topics. The hotline will be open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hotline call-in information and the link are shared below. If the person taking your call does not know the answer to your questions, they will redirect you to an appropriate campus contact or take down your information and get back to you with relevant and responsive information as soon as possible.

Employee Information Hotline Call-In Information: 

669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 878 731 3895

Employee Information Hotline Zoom Room Information:

Emergency Employee Housing

We know there are some employees without a place to stay during the evacuation period. We have accommodated many at the University Town Center and area hotels. If you find yourself without a place to evacuate to, please contact our Employee Emergency Housing Hotline at 831-531-8250. This is a new hotline we have rolled out and the number is available 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. If space is available in any of our current employee emergency housing locations, we will work to place you. The hope is to prioritize those who truly do not have any options and who do not have homeowners or renters insurance to cover hotel costs. We can also connect you with other local options.

UCOP has also shared two resources available for employees who may be displaced from their homes due to the wildfires.  This information will also be posted on UC’s Connexxus portal. 

There are two Airbnb scenarios based on length of displacement: 

Hotel Alternative Short or Long Term Displacement:

  • Visit the Marriott tile located at the Book Online page at the Connexxus portal to identify UC property rates with Marriott which are less expensive than Marriott published rates 

  • Free and discounted hotel options visit 

Based on your insurance coverage, some of these costs may be reimbursable by your provider. Employees with rental insurance policies are also encouraged to speak with their policy representatives to review whether any of their displacement expenses are reimbursable. UCOP Risk Services recommends that displaced UC employees check their homeowners insurance policy under Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or Loss of Use and contact their insurance carrier for additional inquiries.  

Mental and Emotional Support Services

Employees have cost-free access to counseling and support services available under the Employee Assistance Program. Employees are provided with six counseling sessions at no cost. You may also check your medical coverage plan to see what counseling and support services you may be eligible for. Through our Employee Wellness program, the campus is also providing group support services for any employee. These are drop in sessions and you can sign up and attend as many as you want. More information can be found here

In addition, if you need additional emotional support, Optum is providing a free emotional support helpline for all people impacted by the fires with or without insurance. Please call 866-342-6892 to reach specially trained mental health professionals. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Emergency Loans and Financial Assistance

The university has an emergency loan program through two credit unions that will provide emergency loans to UC employees. The two credit unions are – USE Credit Union and University Credit Union. 

Both suppliers have UC negotiated interest rates, are in complete compliance with the Truth in Lending requirements, and will provide online application tools for employees to directly apply for emergency loans.

To learn more, contact the following organizations: 


University Credit Union

USE Credit Union

Contact Phone

(800) UCU-4510 

(800) 828-4510

(866) 873-4968, Option 2



Loan Application Website

To access the application:

  1. Click  on Apply Now” 

  2. Select Apply for a Personal Loan from the dropdown menu.

  3. Under Type of Loan, select: UC Emergency Loan and complete the required application information. 

UC Employee Emergency Loan

To access the application:

  1. Click on Apply Now 

  2. Select “Yes” or “No”

  3. Under Personal Loan, select, “Disaster Recovery Loan” and complete the required application information. 

You can also check in with your local bank or credit union to learn about other emergency loan programs they have available to you. 

Employees may also qualify under hardship rules and may be able to take a withdrawal from a 457 (b) balance and 403 (b) balance.  More information is available in the “Support for those affected by California's wildfires” section on the UC website


Administrative Leave

For staff (both represented and non-represented) who need administrative leave with pay, your requests will be approved through September 5, 2020. Staff HR has provided guidance to managers and supervisors on how to collect these requests. Guidance on how to record this time will also be provided.

We continue to identify additional support opportunities and will be communicating those in the days to come.  We hope the resources outlined above bring some comfort as you navigate these days ahead.