SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) announced that as of March 13, more than 2,500 applications for Mortgage and Rental Assistance (MRA) had been received from freeze victims through the teleregistration number.
Applicants are encouraged to call the following toll-free number as soon as possible:
Mortgage and Rental Assistance
TDD - 1-800-660-8005
Monday through Saturday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., California Time
"We are urging people affected by the freeze, who reside or work in a designated county, to call and register as soon as possible. The sooner they register, the sooner we can help them," said Michael Lowder, federal coordinating officer. The seven presidentially declared California counties include Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, and Tulare counties.
"We are pleased that more than 2,500 people have called the teleregistration phone number so far," said Dallas Jones, director of OES. "It is now imperative that these same people and the many others who suffered losses as a result of the freeze visit the closest Disaster Service Center (DSC) to apply for all the additional services they may still be eligible for."
MRA is administered by FEMA in close coordination with OES. It is designed to prevent the eviction of homeowners or renters because of income or job loss related to disasters such as the severe freeze of December 20 - 28, 1998.
MRA is part of FEMA's temporary disaster housing program and can provide rent or mortgage payments for the duration of the disaster's impact on an individual's income.
Teams of FEMA representatives will be present at each State operated DSC to answer questions and ensure awareness of the MRA program's availability and stipulations.
For additional assistance, people affected by the freeze may visit one of 17 Disaster Service Centers (DSCs) opened by the State of California in the affected counties. Besides MRA, programs available at the DSCs include Disaster Unemployment Assistance, job placement, energy assistance, food assistance, social services and referrals to local services. These DSCs are being operated under a state contract with La Coopertiva Campesina de California through their partners, Proteus, Employer's Training Resource, Central Valley Opportunity Center and the Center for Employment and Training.