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San Luis Obispo Co. will not receive FEMA assistance for Feb., March storms

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 07, 2023

The County of San Luis Obispo Office of Emergency Services (OES) told KSBY the county was not among those approved for FEMA individual assistance following the storms in February and March.

According to SLO County OES, there are two programs FEMA can help the county with during a disaster, individual assistance and public assistance.

 With individual assistance, FEMA would open up a disaster recovery center and could provide the community with small business loans and temporary housing.

 With public assistance, the state and FEMA can assist various agencies like community services districts, cities, and counties.

 Following the storms earlier this year which came after the impacts of January 9th, San Luis Obispo County submitted a request asking for financial assistance from the two programs.

The county was only approved for public assistance which can help with things like road and infrastructure repairs.

“In order for us to receive individual assistance, we have to meet a certain threshold, and that threshold fluctuates a little bit. There's a formula that they use to gain damages statewide and also here within the county," said SLO County OES manager, Scott Jalbert.

In this case, SLO County did not meet the threshold for this for storms in February and March.

One example Jalbert gave was that the county had 14 destroyed structures during the recent storm period but FEMA was looking for up to 25 structures.

Jalbert added things like fences and driveways don’t typically qualify, but structural damage should be reported.

The next steps for the county include resubmitting their request. SLO County has 30 days until the incident is terminated and that’s where help from people in the county comes in.

"So any time they submit an initial damage estimate, they should document everything. They should document the damage, what they did afterward, so if they do qualify that, that's proof to FEMA that showing that they actually did the work and it was related to the storm," said Jalbert.

 To report any storm damage, you can go torecoverlso.org to submit your form. The county stated they will be monitoring these reports to be able to resubmit their application back to the state and FEMA.

KSBY did reach out to FEMA about the county’s qualification status and was told certain data from the state has not yet been collected and a determination on qualification has not been made.

While FEMA told KSBY there is no threshold the county needs to meet, the county said they were told otherwise.