01/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/11/2019 20:44
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Over the two months since wildfires in two disparate regions of the state grew into deadly disasters of historic proportions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have approved more than $347 million in grants and low-interest disaster loans to assist survivors in their recovery.
The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) continues to lead the overall coordination efforts with its local, state and federal partners to help the affected the communities and survivors recover. Cal OES is also charged with leading the two-phase debris removal operations program for homes destroyed by the wildfires. Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste operations are progressing, and Phase 2 Debris Removal operations are now underway. CalRecycle is the operational lead of Phase 2 operations, which begins with individual site assessment/documentation and the removal of any remaining asbestos. Removal of ash, wildfire debris, and contaminated soil is set to begin the week of January 28.
FEMA is coordinating federal government support to the State of California, as it leads recovery efforts following the destruction of nearly 255,000 acres by three mid-November wildfires: The Camp Fire in Butte County and the Hill and Woolsey fires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
More than 15,000 California families lost their homes and everything in them; more than 6,200 other structures were destroyed. Virtually the entire Town of Paradise in Butte County was burned to the ground.
FEMA's Housing Assistance (HA) program offers financial assistance to help repair or replace an owner-occupied primary residence when the house has been damaged or destroyed and financial assistance to renters and homeowners for temporary rental assistance. To date, FEMA has approved $38.3 million (an average of over $638,000 per day) in financial assistance to homeowners, and to renters for temporary rental assistance. Another $22 million has been approved for Other Needs Assistance, including disaster‐related medical, dental and funeral costs; clothing; household items such as furniture and appliances; tools and materials required for employment or schooling, fire damage to a vehicle and other disaster-related expenses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, FEMA's federal partner in disaster recovery, has approved 2,451 low-interest disaster loans to California businesses and residents totaling more than $287 million.
More than 26,000 survivors have registered to receive FEMA assistance. The last day to apply for FEMA assistance and SBA loans is Jan. 31, 2019.
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) and Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers (MDRCs) are jointly operated by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and FEMA.
Administered by the California Employment Development Department and funded by FEMA, the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides temporary unemployment benefits to survivors who suffered from job loss, reduced hours or loss of a business as a direct result of the wildfire disaster and who do not qualify for regular state unemployment insurance benefits.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Toxic Substances Control continue to lead recovery efforts in surveying, collecting and disposing of household hazardous waste. This is Phase 1 of the debris removal process at affected properties within the burn footprints in Butte County (including the Town of Paradise), Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
As the disaster recovery process continues into its third month, state, local and federal agencies are keeping a close watch on the weather:
All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).
FEMA's mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.
The SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA's Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing [email protected], or visiting SBA's website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.