Unable to Find Housing, Paradise Principal Forced to Resign

Like so many others, Paradise High School Principal Loren Lighthall has been unable to find housing since a massive fire engulfed his town late last year. This month, he was forced to resign.

“It is with great sorrow that I am resigning as Principal of Paradise High School,” he announced in a Facebook post on April 8. “I loved working with your children and they are the reason I loved this job so much. We have accomplished some amazing things in our time together. Unfortunately, I have been unable to secure housing.”

Lighthall has already accepted a job with another school in Central California.

Lighthall and his wife have seven children. It was important to prioritize their need for stability, he said. Since the fire, he and his family have been living in a three-bedroom apartment in Chico.

Their plight is one shared by many current and former residents of Paradise. Housing in the region was already scant and expensive before the November wildfire — the most destructive ever in California’s history. Since the blaze, many have had to leave or have been forced into homelessness. That reality is reflected in school enrollment numbers. Before the fire, there were some 3,400 students in the district. Today, there are around 1,700.