SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- California freeze disaster victims threatened with property foreclosure or eviction from their homes have received nearly $1.1 million in federal grants to date, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES).
The money is from FEMA's Mortgage and Rental Assistance program (MRA), which was activated following President Clinton's February 9 disaster declaration. MRA is designed to prevent the eviction of homeowners or renters because of income or job loss resulting from disasters, such as the severe freeze of December 20-28, 1998. The program provides mortgage or rent payments for the duration of the disaster's impact on an eligible applicant's income.
Eight counties have been designated as disaster areas: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Tulare, and Ventura. Approximately 5,000 applicants from those areas have registered with FEMA for mortgage-and-rental and other kinds of federal and state help.
People who were affected by the freeze, and who reside or work in the named counties, are encouraged to register for MRA or other kinds of disaster aid by calling, toll-free: 1-800-745-0243(TTY, 1-800-660-8005 for those with speech or hearing impairments). The line is available Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 5 pm, California time.
Also, at Disaster Service Centers located in all the designated counties, federal and state representatives are available to answer questions about various types of freeze-related assistance.