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UPDATE: A fund for Lance and Carla has been established by the Montecito Fire Department.

Even a couple dollars helps. So does a card, and passing along this link.

A couple of comics folk, Lance and Carla Hoffman, have lost their home and been injured in the Tea Fire in Montecito and Santa Barbara.
Carla is the manager of Metro Entertainment, a Santa Barbara comics shop, and a blog@ Newsarama contributor.
Carla and Lance are in critical but stable condition.

ETA: Fucking Hell: I didn't realize Carla is cyberpilate . Carla has posted here, and was thoughtful and gracious. (I generally recognize and know people by their online aliases.)

Carla and Lance were both severely burned in a flash fire. Which means I don't know shit about what they're going through beyond understanding that Carla and Lance's home and possessions are gone, and how horrible that is. 

Since I DO know about losing a home and what that's like, let me share what I know about helping. My home was destroyed in a fire just over two years ago. We lost nearly everything, including our pets. Our lives were wiped off the map.

Before it is suggested:</lj>

The HERO Initiative aids comics professionals who have worked for the Big Two as creators, and in comics for at least ten years. The Comic Book Legal Defense fund defends first amendment cases.
A lot of people don't understand this, so there it is.
How to care for someone who's lost their home in a disaster:

Most important thing: MONEY. Insurance can be bitchy and pokey. Immediate cash for clothes, food and so on is a HUGE help. It gives a sense of security.
More on money and contributions further on.

Unless you've lost a house in a fire (or other disaster), you really don't know what it's like. You're right, you can't imagine. "Sucks" doesn't even thinly cover what it's like to lose one's home in a fire.
From my own experience, expressions of good thoughts and encouragement were enough. You don't have to try and relate. It's cool to just say, "I am thinking about you, and wish you luck."

The best way to understand the loss of one's home (at least as much as one can without losing their home to a disaster) is to imagine going into a Target (for example) and understanding that even if you bought one of everything, from the craziest to the most useful, you would not duplicate a single thing. Then imagine that you have no place to put it.
And that's still not enough.
It was weird to realize, after our house was gone, we didn't have measuring cups, drinking glasses or a can opener. Band-Aids. Pot holders. Towels. Underwear. Shoes.

We had overwhelm in spades. It was hard to answer questions, let alone make plans, lists or eat. If you ask someone what they need, don't be offended if they can't answer (send money), don't be surprised if it's something weird. When GuruEfx point men Joe Weltjens and Lee Duhig came to our house the day it burnt down, we had them drive us to a local vet and we...adopted a cat.

PayPal looks very hard at accounts set up as charities, and will close them. (I know, they closed mine for 24 awful hours.) Best to PayPal Lance and/or Carla directly if they have PayPal accounts as note the amounts as a "gift" rather than "donation." Pretty much anything BUT "donation."

For fuck's sake, DON'T do a charity book. By the time you corral contributors, et the book assembled, pay expenses, get paid, you've given yourself a HUGE headache and probably a lot less money than you intended to send. Benefit books also tend to result in hurt feelings.
A live benefit, or eBay auctions, OTOH, are good.   

Don't send anything not asked for (unless you happen to know the person very well.) People who lose homes in fires (floods, quakes, storms)  will have storage issues for maybe a long time. This includes managing clothes.
When you send something, send something you'd like to get. Don't pass along the equivalent of pickled beets.

Send money. If you can't (and that is totally okay), send a note, or pass along info.

When the time comes, I'll be sure to post more info.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 17th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
What I know is this - I somehow found this LJ account when I read a post elsewhere that mentioned the fire. I'd been a reader and fan, reviewed Lea's books, but never met her. I still haven't met her in person, but I've been reading this blog and doing my little bit to contribute ATF and for other things. Even a few dollars helps, when a bunch of people send a few dollars it all adds up. I've been reading Carla's blog at Newsarama, so I'll find a way to send a few bucks along to help as soon as I can. I hope others here can do the same. Y'all are good people. Lea is great people. And she's giving good, practical advice here.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 17th, 2008 09:39 am (UTC)
There's a Yahoo! group "lanceandcarla" that you can join, for friends discussing ways to help. And a Facebook group set up by Lance's martial arts instructor, "Tea Fire Survivors: Lance and Karla Hoffman."

I'll also point everyone to this http://www.montecitofire.com/resources/pdf/Tea_Fire/Tea_Fire_Burn_Victim_Relief.pdf
Nov. 17th, 2008 11:52 am (UTC)
Jesus, what terrible news. Thanks for letting us know, Lea, and for the practical, down-to-Earth explanation of what actually helps most.
Nov. 17th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
I was sent this link by a mutual friend. I've been talking to Carla online for about two years now...adore both her and her husband. Thank you for this information, I had no idea how to help but knew that I wanted to. The power of the internet, man. I have been so in the dark since I last heard from her right before it happened.
Nov. 19th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
I've been trying to find out more information on who's helping Lance and Carla and how to direct others to a more central location. Thank you so much for posting this.

They are the best people, and I love Lance like a brother.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
okay, and I don't want to sound like my job or anything, but also--go to the red cross. The red cross responds to (or tries to, at least) every single-family fire in the US. different chapters can do different things. my chapter will put people in hotels for a little while and do some monetary assistance with clothing/food/storage containers, etc. we also help people by advocating for them for different agencies, try to get them to the top of the different lists, pay some medical expenses (if you lose your glasses/hearing aid/medication); do some free mental health assistance and then can also contract out for longer-term counseling (that the red cross will pay a portion of). some chapters do first months rent, some do first months rent and security deposit, some can't provide either b/c of their finances. every chapter is different, but every chapter will be able to help.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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