Recently, 24/7 Headline News reported regarding Blue Cut fire victims not being expected to qualify for Federal Aid. Due to the overwhelming amount of questions from both our community and our reporters, a Headline News reporter reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The County of San Bernardino, in a news release, stated that aid was requested and denied on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. This news release also stated the following, “The state countered by combining the Blue Cut Fire with two other recent California wildfires in a request for federal consideration. But the federal government did not approve that proposal, either.”
A FEMA representative told the 27/Headline News reporter that the grant was in fact requested and was approved the same day. “The only request FEMA has received and approved to date is for the fire management assistance grant,” said FEMA spokeswoman, Mary Simms. “This funding allows up to a 75% reimbursement for eligible firefighting costs to assist in “managing, mitigating and controlling the fire.”
As of August 22, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. no “public” or “individual” assistance had been requested from FEMA. Public Assistance would help with “debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain Private Nonprofit (PNP) organizations”, according to FEMA officials.
For Individual assistance, FEMA would send out a team to assess the damage and determine what type of services they could offer to the fire victims. The assistance provided would be provided in the instance that a disaster becomes a presidentially-declared disaster. In order to receive this declaration, the State Governor must request this.
This assistance can be provided in the form of housing assistance for those who have lost their homes. Assistance may also be offered to assist with other disaster-related expenses. These expenses may include, according to the federal disaster website; medical and dental, child care, funeral, and burial, essential household items, moving and storage, vehicle, and some clean-up items.
Although, FEMA does not offer small business assistance, in the case of a presidentially-declared disaster they do partner with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer low-interest loans to those affected. FEMA officials said that they will be contacting the County of San Bernardino to clarify any misconceptions. “We would like to clear up any confusion with any sources erroneously providing any other information,” Simms added.
Applications for assistance are accepted at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/. More information can be found at https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance.
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