Southern California Residents May Register for Disaster Assistance

Residents of Santa BarbaraVentura, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties who suffered damage or losses from the recent wildfires and flooding, mudflows, and debris flows directly related to the December 2017 wildfires, can now register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The amendment to the presidential disaster declaration of January 2, 2018, made at the request of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., now makes federal assistance available to eligible individuals and business owners in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Survivors who primarily reside in the designated counties can apply online at or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

FEMA and Cal OES have been providing essential emergency support to affected communities since the initial disaster declaration on January 2, 2018.

Applicants will be asked for the following information:

• Social Security number
• Address of the damaged primary residence
• Description of the damage
• Information about insurance coverage
• A current contact telephone number
• An address where they can receive mail
• Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds

Disaster assistance for homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for:

• Rental assistance
• Essential home repairs
• Uninsured and underinsured personal property losses
• Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries.

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

Registering with FEMA is required for federal aid, even if a survivor has registered with another disaster-relief organization, such as the American Red Cross.

Survivors should register even if they have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but underinsured applicants may receive help after their claims have been settled.FEMA, SBA, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and other state and federal agency representatives will also be available to help survivors at local assistance or disaster recovery centers as they open in the affected counties.

Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are also eligible for the Public Assistance program which is available to eligible state, local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofit organizations, on a cost-share basis, to fund emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.

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