PASADENA, Calif. -- Disaster-related aid for necessary expenses and serious needs outside housing assistance may be met through the federal-state Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program. Currently, $244,240 has been approved for California applicants with $233,130 disbursed to nearly 100 recipients. The average ONA grant is $2,500 in this wildfire recovery, federal and state officials said.
"The ONA grants can be used for personal property, such as essential furnishings, transportation, or moving and storage expenses," said Mark Neveau, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The ONA grants are part of the FEMA Individuals and Households Program.
Some categories of ONA grants are for applicants who are not eligible for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loan and face uninsured personal property losses. Before an applicant can be considered for those ONA funds, he or she must submit the SBA loan application and be denied.
However, ONA grants for medical and dental expenses, as well as funeral and burial costs, do not require an SBA disaster loan application and denial.
"The ONA grants are cost-share monies," said Deputy State Coordinating Officer Tom Maruyama. "FEMA provides 75 percent and the State provides 25 percent."
Uninsured disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property items may be eligible for ONA consideration. These items could include: clothing, household items like appliances, specialized tools or protective clothing to return to work, necessary educational supplies like computers and school books, and clean-up items such as wet/dry vacs, air purifiers and dehumidifiers.
ONA transportation grants are intended to pay for repair or replacement of an applicant's primary means of transportation that was made inoperable by the disaster.? The ONA funds also may be used for public transportation costs.
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.