FEMA extends flood relief assistance

Federal Emergency Management Agency extends flood relief assistance for communities in the Central Valley through Sept. 1

(Rigo Moran)
(Rigo Moran)
Mid Valley Times Staff
Published July 26, 2023  • 
12:00 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – As the Central Valley continues to recover from springtime flooding, FEMA has extended its federal disaster assistance to provide locals with the help they need. 

The updated timeline was changed to Sept. 1 from July 20, giving flood-impacted communities like Tulare County an extended chance to apply for disaster relief funds. According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this extended registration deadline will give survivors living in remote areas who were recently designated for federal disaster assistance, as well as residents in affected counties, more time to apply for funds for necessary resources.

Aside from Tulare County, the other 13 eligible counties are Butte, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Mono, Monterey, Nevada, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Tuolumne.

FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program may provide disaster assistance for eligible costs of home repairs, rental assistance for temporary housing, essential personal property, disaster-related medical and dental care, funeral expenses, transportation and childcare.

There are three ways to apply for FEMA: Online at DisasterAssistance.gov, the FEMA mobile app or by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362

If someone uses video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, it is instructed to give FEMA the number for that service. Helpline operators are available from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST daily. Press the 2 button for Spanish, and press the 3 button for an interpreter who speaks the desired language. For an accessible video on how to apply, visit youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.

If referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), an individual must apply with SBA before you can be considered for certain FEMA grant money. This could be for reimbursement for damaged personal property, transportation assistance and Group Flood Insurance Policy (GFIP). 

Residents are not obligated to take out a loan if they are approved, but a failure to return the application may disqualify them from possible FEMA assistance. Long-term, low-interest disaster loans for businesses, nonprofits, homeowners and renters may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources.

This aid became available after President Biden declared a federal disaster on April 3. The declaration covers damage caused by severe winter storms, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides and mudslides between Feb. 21 and July 10 of this year.

Recently, U.S. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced a policy change granting 12 months of no payments and 0% interest, according to FEMA. This pertains to all disaster loans approved in response to disasters declared on or after Sept. 21, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023. This policy change will benefit disaster survivors and help them to decrease the overall cost of recovery by reducing the amount of accrued interest they must repay.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of funds 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 the benefits of other agencies or organizations. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Disaster Loan Assistance.

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 711 to access telecommunications relay services.

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency or economic status. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call the Civil Rights Resource line at 833-285-7448.

For the latest information on California’s recovery from the severe winter storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides, visit FEMA.gov/disaster/4699. You may also follow twitter.com/Cal_OES,  facebook.com/CaliforniaOES, @FEMARegion9/Twitter and Facebook.com/FEMA.

Mid Valley Times Staff