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Federal aid nears $140 million after wildfires


Last updated 2/7/2008 at Noon

PASADENA — Three months after wildfires raged through Southern California, state and federal disaster assistance has reached nearly $140 million to help pay for firefighting, debris removal and other response and recovery efforts.

Here is a summary of funding since the October 24 presidential disaster declaration:

• SBA: $78.6 million. The bulk of the disaster assistance funding has come from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) in the form of long-term, low-interest loans to business and home owners for repair or replacement of damaged structures.

• Public assistance: $44 million has been obligated to reimburse state and local governments for firefighting efforts, debris removal, repair or replacement of public buildings and infrastructure and other wildfire-related losses and expenses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pays 75 percent of those funds, with the remaining 25 percent split between the state of California and local applicants on a 75-25 percent cost-share basis.

• Housing assistance: $9.5 million in grants has been disbursed to homeowners for home repair or replacement and temporary housing.

• Other needs assistance: $3.9 million has been given by the state and FEMA for losses and damage to personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving expenses and other disaster-related costs.

• Unemployment benefits: $1.76 million. California’s Employment Development Department has administered $1.53 million in Unemployment Insurance and more than $235,000 in federally funded Disaster Unemployment Assistance for those who lost work due to the fires but who did not qualify for regular unemployment insurance.

• California State Supplemental Grants: $1.9 million in grants has been approved by the California Department of Social Services for those who have received the maximum grant from FEMA.


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