SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Additional assistance programs have been added to the Presidential disaster declaration arising from December's severe freeze, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES).
Presidentially declared counties now include Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Tulare and Ventura.
Freeze-relief efforts in all eight declared counties have been expanded to include temporary disaster housing, crisis counseling, food stamps, and food commodities.
Additional Temporary Disaster Housing Assistance:
- Alternate housing for renters or homeowners where eviction or foreclosure has already occurred.
- Disaster home repair to make minor, but necessary, disaster-related repairs not covered by insurance.
TO APPLY FOR HOUSING HELP, FREEZE VICTIMS MUST CALL:
TDD - 1-800-660-8005
Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5p.m.
Crisis Counseling: Referral services and short-term intervention counseling for emotional and mental health problems caused or aggravated by the disaster.
Food Stamps: May be available to low-income households who are unable to purchase adequate amounts of nutritious food as a result of the disaster.
Food Commodities: Allows the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to distribute food commodities to the state to provide adequate supplies in major disaster areas, covered by the declaration.
Disaster Legal Services: Legal assistance and advice to disaster victims.
In addition to the above programs made available by the amended declaration, programs already helping freeze victims include:
Disaster Unemployment Assistance: May be available to people who are out of work because of the freeze. These include farm workers and self-employed individuals such as farm and ranch owners. To apply, people who live or work in a declared county should contact their local California Employment Development Department (EDD) office or any Disaster Service Center.
Mortgage and Rental Assistance (MRA): MRA is a part of FEMA's temporary disaster housing program. It is designed to help homeowners or renters when there is a threat of eviction or foreclosure due to disaster caused financial hardship. Prior to the amendment, only the MRA portion of the temporary disaster housing program was available. With the amended declaration, additional parts of the program may be accessed.
In addition, people affected by the freeze may visit one of 19 Disaster Service Centers (DSCs) 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.