Additional support for employees impacted by wildfire - launch Wildfire Relief Fund grant applications

To: UC Santa Cruz Faculty and Staff

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

Through the steadfast efforts of firefighters from across our region, the fire burning in Santa Cruz county is now 56% contained. As containment has expanded, most of the mandatory evacuation orders for the county have been lifted. We do, however, still have several thousand people who remain evacuated, and over 1,000 homes in our county were damaged or destroyed. If your home has been damaged or destroyed by the wildfire and you have not yet submitted a home loss form, we hope you will do so as it will help us in connecting you with the support services available to you.

In our continued efforts to support our employees who have been impacted by the wildfire, we have launched a new grant program to assist affected faculty and staff with unexpected financial expenses. The grants are funded through the voluntary charitable contributions from colleagues, alumni, campus supporters and organizations. Employees may submit applications requesting financial assistance up to $1,500 to reimburse or pay for reasonable and necessary personal, and family living expenses incurred as a result of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. These grants are intended to assist employees with expenses that have not been, or will not otherwise be, reimbursed or covered by insurance or another source. Program details, eligibility requirements and the application form are available online

In addition to this program, please remember the other support services available and that we have shared in prior communications, including the new vacation pay out program we launched last week. For those employees who still do not have the ability to work remotely or on campus due to the wildfires, administrative leave with pay will be extended for certain categories of employees through September 12, 2020. Managers and supervisors received information about the extension and eligibility requirements on Thursday, September 3. Employees should contact their supervisors to discuss additional administrative leave with pay and other flexible employment arrangements next week.

As evacuation orders continue to be lifted and as we shift our efforts to the next phase of recovery, our walk-in evacuation center at the Coconut Grove will close at the end of the day today.  We do continue to provide evacuation housing for our employees who remain impacted. Faculty and staff can call the Emergency Housing Hotline at 831-531-8250 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to learn more. In addition, our Employee Information Hotline remains open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help you. You can access the call-in number at 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 878 731 3895 or the Zoom Room at We plan to keep both hotlines open through Sept. 11.

Thank you for your continued humanity and compassion for each other and everyone in our community who has been impacted by the wildfires. The stories of employees stepping in and up to offer support are continual reminders of the best aspects of our Slug community. 

To stay up to date on all of our wildfire recovery efforts, please continue to access our wildfire website