SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- San Luis Obispo County residents who suffered losses due to the San Simeon earthquake and have not yet applied for federal disaster assistance have only one more week to apply. Monday, March 15 is the last day to file applications for most disaster assistance programs, according to officials of federal and state disaster-recovery agencies.
These agencies include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
"Anyone who experienced any earthquake damage should register for assistance right away," said Dallas Jones, OES director and state coordinating officer for the earthquake disaster. "OES, FEMA, and SBA want to make sure everyone in San Luis Obispo County who was affected by the earthquake registers so they can receive the assistance they are eligible for under the law."
To register, individuals can call the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) toll-free registration number: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with hearing or speech impairments can register by calling 1-800-462-7585. The telephone numbers are operational from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (PST), Monday through Friday. Residents already registered for disaster assistance with FEMA can call those numbers to update their FEMA application if necessary.
Applicants may qualify for assistance under several federal and state programs. These include temporary disaster housing assistance; U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest, disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes; and grants to meet disaster-related needs not covered by other programs or insurance.
After registering by telephone, applicants can receive face-to-face assistance at a Disaster Recovery Center located at the Mid-State Fair Grounds, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, through Monday, March 15. Its hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, March 6; and 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Saturday, March 13.
"You must register before March 15," said Federal Coordinating Officer Peter Martinasco of FEMA. "But even after the March 15 deadline, if you have questions about your application, FEMA will still be just a telephone call away. The toll-free teleregistration number will remain in operation as the Helpline throughout the year."
FEMA and state disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate for an individual's entire loss. For applicants and business owners who have insurance, FEMA and state programs may help pay for basic needs not covered by an insurance policy. Residents should contact their insurance agents in addition to calling the FEMA registration number. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of low-interest loans from the SBA.
OES coordinates overall state agency response to major disasters in support of local government. The office is responsible for ensuring California's readiness to respond to and recover from natural, manmade and war-caused emergencies and for assisting local governments in their emergency preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery efforts.
SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
On March 1, ...