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Federal, state wildfire aid tops $27.6 million

Posted: February 10, 2009 7:39 p.m.
Updated: February 10, 2009 4:39 p.m.

PASADENA, Calif. - More than $27.6 million in federal and state disaster assistance has been approved for the November wildfires in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Santa Barbara counties.

Here is a summary of disaster assistance funding to date:

* $24,926,900 - Approved U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster assistance loans to homeowners, renters and business owners. There have been 687 loan applications submitted and 220 approvals completed.

* $2,070,414 - Housing Assistance grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for rental expenses, home repair or replacement approved for 278 households.
* $671,947 - Other Needs Assistance for serious unmet needs, shared 75 percent by FEMA and the 25 percent by the state of California, for losses and damage to personal property; vehicle repair or replacement; moving expenses; and other disaster-related costs, approved for 254 households.

* $310,000 - Approved California State Supplemental Grants from the California Department of Social Services for those whose unmet needs exceed the $30,300 maximum grant from FEMA and the state for housing and other needs assistance.

* $93,827 - Allocated by the U.S. Department of Labor to the California Employment Development Department for individuals unemployed by the wildfires and not eligible for regular unemployment assistance.

* 2,522 - Southern Californians registered for state and federal disaster assistance. If they have questions, they can get help by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 or online at

* 38 - Local governments and eligible private non-profit organizations filed requests for public assistance grants. FEMA funds 75 percent and California pays an additional 18.75 percent of the grants for emergency work such as debris removal and reimbursement for protective measures, plus repair or replacement of facilities and equipment.

The California State Bar has a legal assistance hotline at 1-866-636-9041. Wildfire victims can call the line with disaster-related basic legal questions, such as replacing lost documents, housing-landlord-tenant disputes, and insurance issues.

About FEMA
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

About CalEMA
The California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) coordinates overall state agency response to major disasters in support of local government. CalEMA maintains the State Emergency Plan, which outlines the organizational structure for state management of the response to natural and manmade disasters. CalEMA assists local governments and their state agencies in developing their own emergency preparedness and response plans in accordance with the Standardized Emergency Management System and the State Emergency Plan.

About the SBA
SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY 1-800-977-8339.)


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