Sonoma County will never be the same again. Tubbs, one of the worst firestorms to ever hit the Northern California has left thousands of families homeless and razed down more than 3,000 businesses. At the time of writing this, more than 68 people were still unaccounted for with another 48 confirmed dead.
Picking up the pieces is indeed a tall order for the victims. There is hope on the horizon though. We explore the various resources you can use to get back on your feet in the wake of Tubbs.
Where to get Help if You Were Affected by Tubbs Fire
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering financial assistance to the victims of Tubbs fire in Sonoma County. If you are a survivor, call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585 or apply online by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov. These numbers are toll-free and operation round the clock seven days a week.
The FEMA grants will cater for home repairs and to erect makeshift houses for victims who don’t have anywhere to stay. The funds are also for uninsured property losses.
It is worth noting that you’re not required to repay FEMA grants. They’re not taxable too. Most importantly applying for the FEMA assistance fund won’t affect your entitlement to benefits such as Medi-Cal or Social Security.
Home Insurance Help for Those Affected by Tubbs Fire
The first action to take is to report and file a claim with your insurance company. If your homeowners’ policy covers natural disasters, the company will assess the damage to determine the compensation amount. Note that it may take a while before you get compensated, so you need to be a little bit patient.
Be sure to contact your insurer even if your homeowners’ cover does not include natural disasters. The thing is, a homeowners’ insurance policy is broad, and your insurer can help you with the finer details. In other words, don’t assume that because your cover doesn’t include a natural disasters extension, you’re not eligible for compensation.
You may also contact your insurance broker to help you with the process of filing a claim.
Business Insurance Help for Those Affected by Tubbs Fire
Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest loans to small and large businesses. You can apply for a loan of up to $2 million. Note that you’re eligible for the SBA loan even when you have a private insurance cover for your business.
To apply for the SBA loan, visit https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA. You can also visit your nearest Disaster Recovery Center of SBA Business Recovery Center for one on one assistance. Other than that, you can inquire about the status of your loan at 800-659-2955 or (800-877-8339 for the deaf and those with hearing problems). Visit m.fema.gov or www.FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers to locate the nearest disaster recovery center.
It is worth noting that if your business does not qualify for the SBA loan, you will be directed back to FEMA for additional assistance consideration. Remember to fill the loan application form correctly and truthfully. Otherwise, you risk being prosecuted for fraud if you don’t.