As our area is faced with ongoing changes due to a growing pandemic, we are bringing stories of people doing good in the community during a time of uncertainty.
Help us look for the helpers!
Donating Driveways to Fire Evacuees
California is experiencing an unprecedented fire season this year and thousands of families have been evacuated from their homes.
A new startup company called Vanly is using its online platform to help fire evacuees find safe, overnight parking as an additional option for temporary shelter.
Vanly allows property owners or 'hosts' to list their driveway or parking space for others to rent, for a fee. Hosts can set their price per night and add as many amenities as they wish for their guests, such as kitchen, home or shower use.
However, due to the wildfires raging across the state, Vanly is encouraging hosts to provide their driveway or property space to fire victims and evacuees for free.
Whether they need a place for their car, RV or trailer, evacuees can use the site to find nearby driveways or properties where they can safely park.
The process is free, and Vanly will not charge its usual fee. Vanly hopes to provide a resource to connect those in need to people willing to help.
Safaa Skander in Santa Barbara rents out her driveway for overnight parking through Vanly. She is also one of the many hosts who are offering their space for free during this time. Skander has seen firsthand the devastation families experience during a wildfire. "A lot of people near and dear to my heart have been victims of fires and have had their homes burn down," said Skander.
Vanly CEO Giulio Colleluori reports about 95% of hosts in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are currently participating in its West Coast Wildfires Support Program.
The program will continue through this fire season, and possibly beyond. "As long as we can provide an extra resource or extra help for people, I think we will try to do anything we can to make that possible," said Colleluori.