Wildfire Disaster Aid Reaches $126 Million

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Release date: 
January 12, 2008
Release Number: 
1731-093

PASADENA, Calif. -- Eleven weeks after Southern California wildfires were declared a presidential disaster, state and federal assistance has reached more than $126 million to help pay for firefighting, debris removal and rebuilding work.

The bulk of the funds have come from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which has approved nearly $68 million in long-term low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and business owners.

More than $44 million in public assistance funds has been obligated to reimburse local and state governments for firefighting efforts, debris removal, repair of public buildings and other wildfire-related losses and expenses. The federal share of those funds is 75 percent; with the remaining 25 percent split between the state of California and local applicants on a 75-25 percent cost-share basis.

Here is a summary of disaster assistance funding:

  • $67.8 million - Approved SBA loans to homeowners, renters and business owners.
  • $9.1 million - Housing assistance grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for rental expenses, home repair or replacement. 
  • $3.6 million - Assistance with other needs from FEMA and the state of California for losses and damage to personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving expenses and other disaster-related costs.
  • $1.9 million - Approved California State Supplemental Grants from the California Department of Social Services for those who have received the maximum grant from FEMA.
  • $1.76 million - in total unemployment benefits have been paid through the end of 2007 by the California Employment Development Department to individuals who lost work due to the wildfire.  This breaks down to:
    • $1.53 million in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits funded through contributions from California employers into a federal trust fund
    • $235,067 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits funded by the federal government to impacted individuals who do not otherwise qualify for regular UI
  • $44 million - Public Assistance funds obligated to reimburse local and state governments for firefighting efforts, debris removal, repair of public buildings and other wildfire-related losses and expenses.

The deadline for individuals and families to register for assistance was Wednesday, Jan. 9. Those who have already registered may go online at www.fema.gov, or call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585.

The helpline is a direct link to update a change of address, phone number and other essential information so assistance may be delivered as quickly as possible.  It can also enable applicants to monitor the progress of their individual case.  The helpline operates Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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