By Emily Turner

SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — A group of homeowners who lost everything in the wine country wildfires are forming a pseudo homeowners association to rebuild their Santa Rosa neighborhood.

Some 1,300 homes were reduced to ashes in the city’s Coffey Park neighborhood. On Monday, hundreds of Coffey Park residents were meeting to formalize their group, Rebuild Coffey Park, where duties would be divvied up and needs of the community assessed.

“We’re organizing and getting it together to take care of each other,” said the group’s founder, Jeff Okrepkie. That’s what it comes down to, is to make sure our neighbors are taking care of each other.”

The movement started on yard signs in burned-out lots. But now the term ‘Coffey Strong’ has taken on an even bigger meaning, as it has been adopted by the Rebuild Coffey Park group.

Okrepkie said the group will become an official organization dedicated to the rebuilding process of the neighborhood.

It’s taken on the task of information and resource-gathering as well as being a united front for 650 people.

“If you have 200 people with the same message but they’re all doing it individually, sending 200 separate emails, versus having one voice of an organized 200 people that are all on the same page, then the city, the county, builders, insurance companies, mortgage lenders need to listen to them,” said Okrepkie.

He’s already talked to developers and builders and divvied up block captains based on subdivision needs.

Tonight they’ll get their marching orders for the long road ahead.

“Basically three things,” said Okrepkie. “First, get them in their homes as soon as possible, do it as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible, and hopefully put them in a situation where they’re not upset with the house they are in.”

Residents who are looking to join the group can visit coffeystrong.com.

 

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