The United States Department of Agriculture offers support programs directed at communities, businesses, and homeowners to help the victims of the recent California wildfires rebuild and get back on their feet.
The recent wildfires that devastated Northern California have displaced thousands of people and cost millions in infrastructure and commercial damages. Individuals come home to find their hard-earned homes burned down to ashes. Worst of all, many find themselves helpless due to being underinsured or total lack of coverage. Others are worried about where to get the money to pay for the home that they can no longer benefit from.
As part of federal efforts to provide relief to those affected by the disaster, the USDA announces that the department is making resources available to help rural communities and individuals recover.
Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett said:
“While the full extent of damage from the current wildfires is not yet known, USDA Rural Development is committed to supporting the recovery of impacted rural communities,” Hazlett said. “We have a variety of assistance rural communities can use during the rebuilding process.”Get today’s rates!
The fires that traversed the state’s wine countries and parts of the Sacramento Valley was estimated to have caused a total damage of around 3 to 6 billion. It also left 1500 homes and other structures destroyed.
Rebuilding these structures would not only take time but also money and human resources. Seeing this need, the USDA offers infrastructure rebuilding support via its Community Facilities Program.
Under this program, citizens of rural California can rebuild their fundamental community buildings as well as replace equipment that has been devoured by the fire.
The Rural Development Community Facilities Program includes:
- Community Facilities Direct Loans & Grants
- Community Facilities Loan Guarantees
- Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant
- Economic Impact Initiative Grants
- Rural Community Development Initiative Grants
- Tribal College Initiative Grants
Aside from this, the department also made it sure that the people can rebuild their water channels and systems as soon as possible to aid for faster relief efforts. Under the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, the communities will be able to rebuild rural water and wastewater systems in the aftermath of the disaster.
For business owners whose operations have been totalled by the fires, the USDA extends help by backing some
business loan opportunities. Interested entities may visit to the FAQ pageof the Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program for a more detailed explainer of the program.
The funds are also made available via the Rural Development’s intermediary lenders.
Housing, Livelihood Support
The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA is the main agency taking the lead in providing temporary housing for individuals and families displaced by the fire.
For long term support, however, the USDA reminds farmers and ranchers in the affected areas that the department has programs that can assist them in recovery.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers assistance to farmers and ranchers who lost their livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster. This band of programs include:
- Livestock Indemnity Program
- Livestock Forage Disaster Program
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program
- Tree Assistance Program
The Emergency Conservation Program can provide funding and technical assistance in helping farmers and ranchers rehabilitate land damaged by a natural disaster. Emergency loans with low interests are also available to producers in areas which received a primary or contiguous disaster designation. When it comes to protecting non-insurable crops against natural disasters, you may apply to the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
Under the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), producers can take advantage of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to producers who agree to defer grazing on damaged land for two years. The NRCS can also assist local government sponsors with the cost of implementing conservation practices to address natural resource concerns and hazards via the Emergency Watershed Protection Program in the event of presidentially-declared natural disasters.Find a loan that fits your financing needs.
If you are a farmer or rancher holding a federal crop insurance coverage, you are encouraged to contact your insurance agent to discuss your losses.
As for housing, the Rural Development can provide assistance for priority hardship application processing for single-family housing. They can also issue a priority letter for next available multi-family housing units when an area is under a disaster designation.
Reach out to your local USDA Service Center for more information on USDA’s disaster assistance programs.Click to See the Latest Mortgage Rates»