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Vulnerable communities can now receive additional emergency relief funding

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Posted at 6:42 AM, Jan 28, 2022

Vulnerable communities can now receive additional emergency relief funding from the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

On Thursday the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services released $125,000,0000 in new disaster preparedness funding.

Two sets of grants were released. $25 million was allocated to Listos California for peer to peer outreach. $100 million was allocated to prepare California to make infrastructure improvements. To determine the cities that qualify for enhanced funding OES looked at the CDC's social vulnerability index and disaster data from the state hazard mitigation plan.

Those that qualify, including Guadalupe and Santa Maria, are considered places where the most vulnerable community members live and where disasters are most likely to strike.

"Vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by the effects of wildfires and other climate change driven natural disasters," California Governor's Office of Emergency Services spokesperson, Brian Ferguson.

Mudslides, wildfires and offshore wind events are just a few examples of natural disasters that have caused significant damage recently on the Central Coast.

"What we're really looking for is what are the microclimates? What are the communities who live in those specific areas who maybe English isn't their first language, or they don't have access to transportation," said Ferguson.

Listos co-creater, Gracie Huerta, says the funding for peer to peer outreach will help community leaders, coaches and teachers to get important emergency information to members of the community.

"We know that it's not a matter of if, but it's a matter of when," said Listos co-creator, Gracie Huerta.

Listos was created more than 10 years ago with the intention of getting the life-saving message of disaster preparedness out to the Spanish speaking community.

"What we know about resilient communities is that the whole community benefits when everyone is prepared for a disaster, so I think this will have long term effects on the whole community," said Huerta.

Cal OES encourages local city and county officials to start applying for the grants. They say the funds will be available in just a few months from now.