“I work for Oakmont Senior Living and I’m so grateful to be a part of a company that has supported those of us who lost our homes in the North Bay fires. This was a devastating and traumatic experience for so many, and I was blown away by the way my work offered financial assistance, mental health services and professional support from the get-go.
A member of the HR team called me in the first few days and asked if I was ok and if I was impacted. When I told them I lost my home, they let me know they had already set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to support Oakmont employees who were directly impacted. They also raised money from vendors, used an emergency fund they set aside for employee needs, and the company owners contributed funds. In the end, all employees who lost their homes were offered a generous financial package to help us deal with our losses. I almost started crying when they gave me mine, I was so blown away that they would offer me so much.
They also paid all staff for two weeks of work following the fires even though most of us were unable to be there. I was so thankful they did that. The staff who could go to work were given a bonus as a thank you.
Once I went back to work they had set up counseling services at my office so that I could meet with someone to talk about everything for free. They also had a hotline set up so that I could call in if I needed anything. Management also helped me find a temporary place to live while my home is being rebuilt. I moved in last week. I feel like Oakmont went above and beyond in supporting me through this and I know many of my colleagues would agree that the company’s support was overwhelming and something we are so thankful for.”
– Paula Becerra, Oakmont Senior Living Santa Rosa Employee
Oakmont’s Ongoing Support to Employees
In the immediate aftermath of the fires, we assembled a team to personally call over 200 employees in the Santa Rosa area to inquire about their well-being, provide support, answer questions, and determine whether they were directly impacted by the fires. As the devastating fires continued, it became obvious that giving employees time with family was an important thing to do. All Oakmont employees in the Santa Rosa area were paid their full salary for two weeks of work. Those who came to work during the first two weeks following the fires were awarded a bonus as a way to say thank you. We remained in operation throughout the fire to provide support to our displaced residents, their families, and our staff.
Over a dozen of our employees who lost their homes to the fires were provided support through dissemination of funds provided by Oakmont business partners and local citizens, as well as funds generously donated by Oakmont Senior Living ownership. With these funds, we were able to offer a financial support package to each staff member who lost their home.
When it became apparent not all employees at Villa Capri could be placed at another Oakmont community because the community was destroyed, we identified alternative workplaces within the company where the employees could be placed. In instances we were unable to find another position at another Oakmont community for a displaced Villa Capri employee, we partnered with other senior living providers in the area to offer alternative employment options, including offering two job fairs. In addition, as a good faith gesture, we offered departing employees a payment to ease the transition as they sought alternative employment. Not only were departing employees offered this payment, they were also paid for non-worked time during the period immediately following the wildfire. In addition to financial support, we provided professional crisis counseling services for employees in need of additional assistance, which included in-person grief counseling by licensed personnel and a 24/7 support hotline.
“We live at Varenna and would like you to know how much we appreciate the very professional and excellent way we were treated by your staff throughout the fire evacuation process. They were so helpful and kind during the entire six weeks. We really appreciated the daily meetings to keep us informed and to answer the many questions we all had concerning the status of Varenna and our impending return. Thank you all for everything you have done for us.”
“My sister and I would like to commend the administration and staff of Villa Capri for the outstanding evacuation that happened early Monday morning. The fires in Santa Rosa were a horrendous event and it is amazing that everyone was saved. We are also grateful for the super attentive follow up care at Belmont Village. All the clients from Santa Rosa appear to be calm, and secure. It must be comforting for them to see so many familiar faces. Thank you for making that happen!”
“We are grateful to the outstanding owners, management, and staff who were able to safely evacuate hundreds of residents the night of the firestorm. We know many of the staff lost their own homes that night. Our thoughts and thanks go out to all of them.”
“The response at Varenna was excellent by 1st responders, staff and even residents. The generator did go on (I think it’s right below our bedroom) and there was emergency lighting in the hallways and in the lobby. Name checks were made as we boarded the bus, again at the church and when we boarded the bus for Concord as well as leaving Concord. I don’t know what else the staff could have done. In my mind safety and evacuation was prime in everyone’s mind.”