LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KERO) — The presidential disaster declaration for counties around California is still in effect. The declaration brought in FEMA as well as other federal agencies to assist those who have been impacted by the recent storms.
If you've been impacted at all by the recent severe weather but are not sure whether you qualify for assistance, or how to apply you might want to apply to a Disaster Recovery Center, like the one that was set up Friday in Lake Isabella.
Once you go inside, representatives from state local, and federal agencies can provide information on the type of assistance they offer, and if needed, help you fill out an application.
"Coming to a center you are talking directly face to face with somebody," explained Gerald Kiltz, the Disaster Recovery Center Task Force leader.
Kiltz says residents can apply online or over the phone, but the Disaster Recovery Center offers access to multiple agencies. It's really intended to be a one-stop shop for applicants who can come in.
Kern County residents who have been impacted by the storms after February 21 are eligible for individual assistance from FEMA. They can apply at the DRC and that application with then be evaluated by the agency. You can ask for legal assistance which is also available.
In addition to individual assistance from FEMA, residents of Kern County can access several other agencies that can provide help.
"Let's say their home is not affected by the storm but their business has been wiped out by the storm so they’re out of a job, and so now unemployment assistance would help them with funds," said Kiltz.
The Small Business Administration is also at the Recovery Center and provides loans to more than just businesses.
Mary Bradfield, the public information officer for the Office of Disaster, Recovery, and Resilience explains: "SBA offers assistance for homeowners, renters, private nonprofits as well as businesses of all sizes. And for small business and private non-profits, for economic losses."
To learn about the assistance available to you, it is important to keep up with the application process.
If you register with FEMA and they refer you to SBA then you must apply for SBA or the process stops. If you are approved for the loan, you stay with us but if you are not, you cannot afford that loan in most cases we send you back to FEMA so you can be considered for other resources," continued Bradfield.
Kern County agencies are also represented at the Disaster Recovery Center.
"The Office of Emergency Services is really joining in a coordinated effort with state and federal and other local government agencies to provide any type of services that the constituents might need that were affected by the flood," said Jolene Murillo, the assistant emergency services manager for Kern Office of Emergency Services. "We have behavioral health that's here, aging and adults services is here."
The Disaster Recovery Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.