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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Realtors giving grants to help fire victims

A classic Ford pickup destroyed by the Gray fire off of South Medical Lake Road is photographed on Aug. 22 near Medical Lake.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Realtors has begun accepting applications that could provide up to $2,000 for victims of the Gray and Oregon Road fires.

Tiffany Claxton, CEO of Spokane Realtors, said local officials were approved to tap into funds that are administered by the National Association of Realtors. That organization is making a total of $500,000 available to help those who lost homes or were displaced by the fires.

“This was a fund that was originally started in 2001 after 9/11 for the families and the victims from the 9/11 disaster,” Claxton said. “All of our associations know that it’s available. We mobilized our team literally two days after the fires started.”

The association received approval to tap those funds on Aug. 30. The first time fire victims could apply for the grants was Sept. 2.

“We’ve had over 1,000 hits to the web page and we’ve probably received 20 applications,” Claxton said Friday afternoon.

The application deadline is Nov. 10. The first checks to Spokane-area homeowners should be received next week, she said.

“It’s about a three-week process,” Claxton said, referring to filling out the application and time to get checks returned. “It is a first-come, first-served program.”

Evacuations were lifted this week for the 10,817-acre Oregon Road fire, which destroyed 126 homes, and the 10,085-acre Gray fire near Medical Lake that consumed 240 homes.

The association grants require property owners to show identification and documents that confirm ownership and other documents, similar to those that get turned in to insurance, to show loss from the fires.

“There is some documentation required,” Claxton said. “It’s for anyone who lost their primary residence, the home they own or a winter property that they were in,” she said. “They can use it if they need mortgage help or are renting a new property … or hotel fees,” she said.

Anyone interested can file an online application form at the Spokane Realtor’s website by clicking on the orange “Crisis Management” icon.