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May 30, 2013

Faith Village, Wildfire Relief Volunteer Center, Closing Doors in July

The Board of Directors from Faith Village recently the letter below detailing the closing of the wildfire relief housing center, located in Smithville, Texas.


Since March 2012, Faith Village has been providing temporary housing and support for volunteer work groups engaged in long-term recovery from the September 2011 Bastrop County wildfire disaster.  The third largest “wildland urban interface home loss fire” in U.S. history,[1] the Bastrop Complex Wildfire burned over 34,000 acres and destroyed 1,691 homes.  Of those, 276 were completely uninsured, and altogether more than half were underinsured.  Almost half the affected households met the HUD definition of “low income.”  


Faith Village has hosted volunteer teams from church congregations, ecumenical campus ministries and secular college groups from all across the United States and Canada.  Many volunteers invested as much as $1,000 and a week of their lives to come and help neighbors they had never met. 


The need for volunteer assistance because of the lack of funding has diminished.  Therefore, Faith Village will cease operations at the end of July, and reservations will not be accepted beyond July 19, 2013. On the final week we will welcome MissionPalooza, when 160 youth and their sponsors from The Diocese of Texas, will work in the area. Last year this group made a very positive impression in Bastrop and we are sure they will bring as much youthful energy and fun this time.


On behalf of all the residents of Bastrop County, and our respective faith groups, we wish to express heartfelt thanks and blessings to all the volunteers who have come—and your friends, family members and congregations back home who have supported your mission.  Your impact on our community extends far beyond the value of the physical work you have done here; it has been an expression of love that has moved us all. 



Gratefully Yours,


The Board of Directors of Faith Village, a joint ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Texas; Episcopal Diocese of Texas; United Methodist Church, Southwest Texas Conference; and Presbyterian Church (USA).


[1] “Bastrop Complex Wildfire Case Study,” Texas Forest Service and Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management, May 2012    ( )