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Many Programs Aid Fire Victims

Release date: 
November 11, 2003
Release Number: 

Pasadena, CA -- Homeowners, renters, and business owners who sustained losses as a result of the recent Southern California fires can find assistance through a wide range of state and federal programs, according to state and federal disaster officials. Residents can apply for assistance by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency's FEMA's toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362). Hearing and speech impaired individuals can call TTY at 1-800-462-7585. FEMA representatives are available between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, to take the calls.

"We want to assure people that we are working to make sure services are provided to those who need them," said William Carwile, III, federal coordinating officer for the recovery effort. "A number of disaster assistance programs are in place to help the people affected by the fire."

"Ensuring that everyone who has been affected by these devastating fires recovers as soon as possible is our top priority," added State Coordinating Officer Dallas Jones.


When disaster strikes in California, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) coordinate recovery operations that include a variety of programs to assist those affected by the disaster. Assistance currently available includes the following.

INDIVIDUALS and HOUSEHOLDS PROGRAM: Housing assistance from FEMA to individuals and families whose permanent homes were damaged or destroyed due to the disaster. Types of aid include awards for (1) temporary rental housing; (2) essential repairs needed to make a residence safe, secure and sanitary; and (3) serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs. Funding for disaster assistance is a cost shared by both the federal and state governments.

SBA HOME/PERSONAL PROPERTY DISASTER LOANS: Disaster loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to homeowners and renters for repairing or replacing underinsured or uninsured disaster-damaged real and personal property.

SBA BUSINESS DISASTER LOANS: Disaster loans from SBA to repair or replace destroyed or damaged business facilities, inventory, machinery, equipment, etc., not covered by insurance (Available to businesses of all sizes). Loans may also be available to small businesses for working capital to assist them during the disaster recovery period until normal operations resume.

STATE SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS TO INDIVIDUALS AND HOUSEHOLDS: Supplemental grants from the California Department of Social Services to eligible individuals and households who are unable to meet disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs. These grants do not duplicate assistance covered by insurance or other disaster programs and are offered when maximum assistance from FEMA's Individuals and Households Program has been met.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: Weekly benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Labor through the California Employment Development Department to individuals out of work due to the disaster, including self-employed persons and others not usually covered under regular unemployment insurance.

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: Under the Public Assistance program, affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations in the designated counties are eligible to apply for federal funds to help pay for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. The California Governor's Office of Emergency Service...

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:51