After winter storms ripped through the Central Coast causing major damage, many residents are left wondering how to pick up the pieces.
“Walking through what’s normally a beautiful, clean space and seeing muddy water everywhere… it’s a very strange feeling. It felt very surreal," said Sam Denicola, Bread Bike owner.
Denicola says the back half of his bakery, the production space, and delivery bike storage area flooded, forcing them to pay their workers to clean up the damaged areas instead of baking bread, and leading to financial losses. He decided to apply for FEMA funding to help ease the financial pressure.
“So I had a little bit of trouble doing it online. I tried to make an account online, had some issues, but there was a phone number on the website that I called," Denicola said.
He says once he called for assistance, the process was simple.
“We were lucky. We didn’t have the worst losses. We’ll be okay if we don’t get funding. It would just kind of help ease us through this moment,” Denicola said.
To apply for FEMA individual assistance, you can go to disasterassistance.gov and fill out the forms on the website or call 800-621-3362 for assistance.
“FEMA also has an app that you can download on your phone that would allow you to upload documents and everything through the app," said Rachel Dion, San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services Coordinator.
The Small Business Administration has opened up loans for small businesses as well. Business owners hoping to recoup financial losses due to storm damage are encouraged to apply for assistance as soon as possible by visiting disasterloanassistance.sba.gov or by calling 1-800-659-2955.
Dion says if you can’t live in your house due to mud, inaccessibility or damage, it is important to note that on the application to get the process moving faster. If you find applying online or over the phone to be too hard, soon you will be able to apply in-person as well.
“We’re actually going to have FEMA come out. We’ll have a location that we’ll publicize to the public and they can actually go to this location and get help in person. So that is in the works, we’re just finalizing where the location is going to be and then we’ll push that information out,” Dion said.
If you have any questions or need assistance with the application process you can contact the County Office of Emergency Services for assistance.