SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- The time for San Luis Obispo County residents to meet with recovery specialists about available assistance for damages resulting from the San Simeon earthquake is rapidly drawing to a close, officials of the federal and state agencies coordinating the San Simeon Earthquake recovery effort announced today. These agencies include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The Paso Robles Disaster Recovery Center, the last of five centers established to provide one-on-one service in response to the disaster, will close at 6 p.m. Monday, March 15.
The Paso Robles Disaster Recovery Center is located at the Mid State Fair Grounds, 2198 Riverside Avenue, Paso Robles, California. Its hours of operation through March 15 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.
The deadline for registering for assistance is also 6 p.m., Monday, March 15. Disaster officials urge all homeowners, renters and business owners who have experienced any damage from the December 22 earthquake to register for assistance by March 15 by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency's toll-free teleregistration line, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Persons with hearing or speech impairments can call the toll-free TTY line, 1-800-462-7585 to register for assistance.
Those who have registered can call these numbers for updates or to provide additional information on their application.
Since President Bush declared a major disaster in San Luis Obispo County on January 13 at the request of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, more than 3,800 residents of the county have registered for disaster assistance and $16.3 million in grants and loans have been approved. This includes $6.3 million in grants from FEMA and $10 million in low-interest disaster loans from SBA.
Disaster assistance programs include housing assistance, grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance or other programs, and low-interest loans from the SBA for earthquake-damaged residential and business property. Disaster unemployment assistance, tax assistance, and other special services are also available to persons affected by the disaster.
FEMA and state disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate for an individual's entire loss. For applicants 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, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of...