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FEMA disaster recovery center closing its doors

slo disaster center.JPG
Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 13, 2023

After disaster struck the Central Coast in January, relief organizations sprang into action. FEMA has been helping San Luis Obispo County residents with storm-related damages at its Disaster Recovery Center located at the Veterans Memorial Hall.

The Disaster Recovery Center has been open since January 24, after President Joe Biden added San Luis Obispo County to the areas included in his disaster declaration. But Tuesday the 14th is the last day FEMA be at the San Luis Obispo site.

Attendance has dwindled since its opening last month, prompting organizers to announce its closure. The center is a one-stop shop, said Francisco Ramirez, the San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation Outreach Coordinator.

"You have all different agencies — state, federal, county, social services, DMV, EDD, nonprofit organizations — giving out help. That way, you don’t have to research or look for those numbers," Ramirez said.

While FEMA primarily helps with housing assistance, it can also assist with things like funerals, medical or dental aid, childcare, and transportation expenses.

"It was kind of cool because they care about you as a person. They were just really friendly and care about you as an individual," explained Stephanie Dukes, a resident utilizing the center's help.

Dukes' house flooded and FEMA was able to help with some of the financial burden of reflooring her bedrooms.

Although the physical location is closing Tuesday, there will still be other options.

"We have disaster teams going door-to-door registering people like that. We will continue to do that and additionally, we can register people online," said Renee Bafalas, FEMA Media Relations Specialist.

There will also be mobile locations available this week:

  • Cayucos Library, 310 B St. - Tuesday, Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Cambria Library, 1043 Main St. - Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, Feb. 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Disaster Recovery Centers in Santa Barbara County will also be closing soon.

The location at Direct Relief in Santa Barbara will close on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

In Santa Maria, the center at Allan Hancock College will close on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Access to applications for federal assistance will remain available online at until March 16, 2023.