PASADENA, Calif. -- State, local and federal agencies have been busy working to help communities recover from the recent severe winter storms that caused flooding, debris and mud flow.
Local officials, during and immediately following the storms, conducted initial damage assessments in affected counties. As a result of these assessments a series of State of Emergency proclamations were issued by the California governor’s office.
President Obama, at the request of Governor Schwarzenegger, issued a major disaster declaration on March 8 authorizing Public Assistance for Calaveras, Imperial, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Siskiyou counties and Hazard Mitigation for all counties in the state. Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) determined uninsured losses at an estimated $50 million.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) have received 90 requests from government agencies and eligible nonprofit organizations for Federal Public Assistance. State and federal officials anticipate receiving approximately 100 requests for assistance. The deadline for submitting requests for Public Assistance is today.
These requests are expected to generate as many as 600 projects that may be funded in the six declared California counties.
Entities in the six declared counties became eligible to apply for federal assistance to fund 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairing, restoring or replacing damaged public facilities. The state’s share of the costs is 18.75 percent, leaving the local agencies responsible for the remaining 6.25 percent.
Following submission of applications, applicants and Public Assistance Coordinators (PACs) from FEMA and Cal EMA meet in what are called Kickoff Meetings. Items discussed include damages, an assessment of needs and priorities. The outcome of the meeting is project formulation. To date, 26 meetings have been held, 26 more are scheduled. A total of 100 meetings are anticipated.
Once the state and FEMA review and approve the projects, FEMA will obligate the funds to the state for disbursement to applicants.
Cal EMA has received 51 separate applications for public assistance under the California Disaster Assistance Act, which provides assistance for recovery efforts to counties, cities and special districts after a state disaster.
In addition, FEMA Mitigation specialists are holding a series of workshops on how low cost, non-structural mitigation techniques may save lives and prevent thousands of dollars of future damage.
As a result of the presidential declaration for public assistance, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a disaster declaration for the same counties. In those counties, SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to private non-profit organizations that provide essential services of a governmental nature.
Additionally, in response to a disaster declaration request from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, SBA declared a disaster covering the counties of Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura. This disaster declaration made low-interest federal disaster loans available in these counties to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations adversely affected by the disaster.
So far, SBA has approved $856,300 in disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, personal property and business property.
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