It’s been one month since FEMA’s Individual Assistance program was approved for Southern Californians in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Here’s an update on recovery numbers as of close of business Feb. 14:
- 582 households eligible for FEMA individual assistance.
- FEMA has approved more than $3.4 million in individuals and households program grants.
- $3 million for housing assistance.
- $431,000 in other needs assistance.
- The inspector team, has completed more than 94 percent of requested housing inspections.
- 1,804 visits to the Disaster Recovery Centers set up to provide survivors with disaster assistance resources.
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. As of close of business Feb. 14, SBA:
- Has approved 159 loans for homeowners and or renters and 33 loans for businesses.
- Approved loans totaling more than $21 million.
Southern California residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, who suffered damage or losses from the December wildfires and January mudslides and flooding, have one month left to register for disaster assistance. The deadline to register is March 16.
Survivors may register or update their information online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or by phone at
800-621-3362. TTY users should call 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362. These toll-free numbers operate 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
The deadline for filing Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) claims with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) is February 20, 2018. Workers, and particularly self-employed individuals, who lost their jobs or had their work hours substantially reduced as a result of the disaster in Southern California can apply for unemployment benefits under the federal DUA program. The application is available online at eApply4UI. Workers do not need to register with FEMA first to apply for DUA.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and FEMA also established a joint hotline for people with a disability or an access and functional need. Referral services and additional assistance may be available. The access and functional needs hotline number is 916-361-0380.
Significant efforts have been made with the removal of debris from basins and creeks in Santa Barbara County. So far, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed debris removal in 10 of 11 debris removal basins that provide protection to downstream neighborhoods and properties in Santa Barbara County. To date, 216,873 cubic yards of debris has been removed from these basins and another 93,310 cubic yards of debris has been removed from roadways. The USACE is also assisting Santa Barbara County clear debris from eight creeks. Work is complete in two creeks and ongoing in the others, for a total of 14,794 cubic yards removed.
CalRecyle has been working in Ventura County to remove debris from private property and conduct soil sampling. So far CalRecyle is 16% complete with private property debris removal in Ventura County.
Debris removal is critical to reopening roadways and facilitating further recovery, but is also essential to helping communities prepare for increased flood risks that follow major fires for several years. All residents of Southern California who live near burned areas should be carefully monitor the weather and follow local emergency recommendations. Residents can increase their financial protection by buying insurance now. Click here for information on flood risks after fire, go to or visit California Department of Water Resources for more information.