After the Tubbs Fire in Northern California destroyed thousands of structures, ravaging the area and leaving many without homes, residents Nikki Pechet and Jack Abraham wanted to do something. And their new project, Homebound, now has the backing of some big names.
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The company essentially acts as a high-tech general contractor, with tools developed to track and manage home-building tasks for those who’ve lost a home in a wildfire.
The platform works by pairing homeowners with a caretaker who helps facilitate the process of building a home, from pre-construction planning to move-in. Users can also Homebound’s website to monitor the building process and keep tabs on their budgets.
And residents without homes may need all the help they can get: During the wave of wildfires that hit Northen California last year, many of those impacted found themselves on the hook to cover the cost of damages, as some insurance companies opted not to renew certain fire insurance plans or hike prices up by thousands of dollars per year.
Steve Nielsen's Santa Rose home was destroyed in October 2017. His insurer, per the L.A. Times, canceled his policy on the grounds that there was “no longer a residence at the address they were insuring." He was on the hook to cover $60,000 of the rebuilding costs.
To date, Homebound has raised $53 million and said it will use that capital, along with any additional contributions, to help streamline its process and develop new technologies.
It’s working with more than 150 homeowners in various stages of building and has already completed homes for a number of its users. Homebound, with 65 employees, has offices across the West Coast, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.