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Help Still Available for California Wildfire Survivors

Release date: 
August 23, 2019
Release Number: 
DR-4407-CA NR 070

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California wildfire survivors from across the state affected by last year’s Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires may still be looking for assistance for various unmet needs. Necessities like food, clothing, health services, employment, crisis counseling, legal assistance and much more are still available from a variety of nonprofit services throughout the state.

Here is a partial list of agencies and the assistance each has to offer:

Nonprofit Resources

The State of California’s Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) works to connect wildfire survivors with numerous community resources. The program pairs trained case managers with disaster survivors to work one-on-one to locate food, clothing, healthcare, crisis counseling, employment and more.

This program is available to those affected by the Camp Fire in Butte County and the Woolsey and Hill fires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

To request assistance, wildfire survivors should contact the nonprofit serving their region:

  • In Northern California, contact Northern Valley Catholic Social Service of Chico at (800) 339-8336, or via email at Campfire-casemgt@nvcss.org.
  • In Southern California, contact Catholic Charities of Los Angeles at (855) 562-3473.

DCMP is operated by local nonprofits through a federal disaster grant, administered by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

Another helpline that can assist with the various referral services and other essentials is 211.org. Survivors can simply call 2-1-1 anywhere in the country and speak with a counselor who has access to a variety of nonprofits under the United Way umbrella. The counselor can then steer the survivor to nonprofit organizations in their community which have resources to assist with his or her specific needs. If prompted to leave a phone number, 211 staff will return the call as quickly as possible. To learn more, go to the organization’s website at: 211.org.

Free Crisis Counseling

Free crisis counseling is available for all survivors of the 2018 California Wildfires who may be experiencing feelings of loss, anxiety, isolation, anger, depression and/or continuing nightmares. Those who wish to speak with a counselor should call the Disaster Distress Helpline at

(800) 985-5990, or text the words TalkWithUs to 66746. Survivors do not need to be registered with FEMA to receive assistance. To learn more, go to www.SAMHSA.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline.

California HOPE is another free crisis counseling service for wildfire survivors in Butte County. Counselors meet with survivors and their families on the survivor’s schedule, at whatever location the survivor is most comfortable. HOPE counselors facilitate support group and educational meetings. To learn more and connect with a counselor, call (530) 966-7382 or email calhopebutte@gmail.com. There’s also information posted on the group’s Facebook page @CalHopeButte.

Free Legal Aid

Wildfire survivors with questions about insurance claims, FEMA benefits, how to replace important documents destroyed in the fire, mortgage/foreclosure concerns, as well as other legal topics, can seek free legal advice by calling one of the helplines listed below:

  • In Northern California, Camp Fire survivors from Butte County who cannot afford an attorney should call (800) 345-9491. The helpline is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PDT), Monday-Thursday. On Friday, the hours are 9 a.m. until noon.
  • In Southern California, disaster survivors in Ventura County who are unable to afford a lawyer may call the helpline at (877) 301-4448; survivors in the Los Angeles area should call (800) 870-0732. Typically, callers are asked to leave a message including their name, phone number and email address, and can expect a response within 24 hours.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.

Last Updated: 
August 23, 2019 - 12:18