September 28, 2015
Our community was recently devastated one of the top-three worst fires in California’s history. The Valley Fire, which started on September 12, 2015, has burned nearly 80,000 acres. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate. More than a 1,200 homes, 23 multi-family residences and 68 commercial properties were burnt to the ground. At least four people lost their lives. Many families were left with nothing.
Funds from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be available to help individuals rebuild, repair and replace housing and other personal property not covered by insurance.
All individuals who were impacted by the Valley Fire should register with and apply for FEMA assistance. You can register and apply in the following ways:
- Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov; www.disasterassistance.gov/es (Spanish)
- Via smartphone at m.fema.gov; m.fema.gov/esp (Spanish)
- Constituents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
The deadline to register with FEMA is November 23, 2015.
Small Business Administration (SBA) loans may also be available to individuals and businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, inventory, and supplies. Homeowners and renters may also be eligible for SBA loans to repair or replace disaster-related damages to homes or personal property.
After registering with FEMA, businesses and homeowners that would like to apply for SBA loans can do so online at: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/small-business-loans/disaster-loans.
Face-to-face help is also available atthe Lake County Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Middletown. Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, State of California, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies are among those represented to explain assistance programs and help survivors register. Survivors with losses are encouraged to register with FEMA for assistance beforegoing to the disaster recovery center. The center will open today, Monday September 28, from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. It will be open 8 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. beginning Tuesday September 29th, 2015.
Middletown Senior Center
21256 Washington St., Middletown, CA 95461
Food assistance is also available to Valley Fire survivors. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has approved a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) for survivors of the Valley Fire in Lake County. Households who resided or worked in Lake County on September 12, 2015, and suffered disaster related damage or disaster losses from the Valley Fire may be eligible for D-SNAP. The California Department of Social Services’ (CDSS) will accept D-SNAP applications from September 29, 2015 through October 5, 2015. Application sites will be located at the Lake County DSS office (15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway Lower Lake, CA 95457) and Middletown Senior Center (21256 Washington Street Middletown, CA 95461) between the hours of 9:00am and 7:00pm.
People who are out of work due to the Valley Fire may be eligible for unemployment benefits. The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has a table and representative at the Calistoga shelter inside the Tubbs Building. You can file for unemployment benefits online at https://eapply4ui.edd.ca.gov/. You can also file by phone, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm by calling:
- English: 1-800-300-5616
- Spanish: 1-800-326-8937
- Chinese (Cantonese): 1-800-547-3506
- Chinese (Mandarin): 1-866-303-0706
- Vietnamese: 1-800-547-2058
Our recovery is only just beginning. Please know I am committed to working with our local, state and federal officials to ensure that the federal government provides all necessary resources to support our community in this time of recovery. And, I stand ready to help expedite any support and resources that our communities need to rebuild and repair our homes, businesses, and infrastructure.
Our district pulls together in tough times. We’ve overcome challenges before by working together, and we will do so again. Should you need anything, my staff and I are here to help.