Individual Assistance

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​Disaster Assistance Information

Individual Assistance coordinates with federal, state, local, and voluntary/nonprofit entities to provide recovery assistance following a disaster that impacts individuals and households, businesses, and/or the agricultural community in the State of California.

​Assistance and Services for Disaster Recovery Brochure

Picture of Assistance and Services BrochureThe "Assistance and Services for Disaster Recovery"  brochure provides resources for individuals, small businesses, and/or the agricultural community. Additional resources may become available depending on the type of disaster.

Spanish language version.

​Individuals, Households, and Businesses

When individuals, households, or businesses are affected by an emergency or disaster, assistance may come in a variety of ways, including government and/or nonprofit, volunteer and faith-based organizations. Although disaster assistance programs are not designed to return you to pre-disaster condition, they may help you begin the Recovery Process.

Voluntary Agencies, such as the local American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, are often ready to step in and help take care of immediate needs. These organizations may be able to assist with sheltering or hotel vouchers, food, or clothing. Please contact local voluntary organizations in your area or the Information and Referral line by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting 2-1-1 California.

Insurance is the first resource in recovering from a disaster. Contact your insurance agent or company representative to report your losses, review your coverage, and answer any questions. The California Department of Insurance provides assistance with insurance issues and can be reached by calling 1-800-927-HELP (4357) or by visiting the Department of Insurance website.

Local Programs, services, or fee waivers may be available to assist with recovery efforts. Contact your local city or county for additional information.

State and Federal Programs may be requested if the Governor determines that recovery appears to be beyond the combined resources of both the local and state government.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to eligible homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and certain private nonprofit organizations in areas declared a disaster by SBA. SBA is most often the primary form of federal assistance that becomes available in California.

  • Physical Disaster Loans are for permanent rebuilding and replacement of uninsured or underinsured disaster-damaged privately-owned real and/or personal property. SBA makes physical disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, businesses, and certain private nonprofit organizations.

  • Economic Disaster Injury Loans - If your business or private nonprofit organization is located in a declared disaster area, and suffered substantial economic injury as a direct result of a declared disaster, you may be eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) - Based on the magnitude and severity of the event, assistance may be requested from FEMA and may include the Individuals and Household Program (IHP) to assist with home repairs, temporary housing, and other needs. Depending on the disaster, recovery assistance may also include programs, such as Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and Legal Services.

When IHP is implemented, the State Supplemental Grant Program is made available to assist with unmet needs.
In the absence of federal assistance, residents affected by a disaster may need to rely on personal resources and assistance from local programs and/or voluntary organizations.

​Agricultural Community

An agricultural disaster designation may be made in a county declared as a disaster area by the President or designated by the Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a disaster area. A designation provides Emergency Loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, and other natural disasters. The Emergency Loan program may also be implemented for certain quarantines. Producers affected may apply for low-interest emergency loans in counties named as primary or contiguous under a disaster designation. A request should be completed by the county agricultural commissioner and include a completed California Agricultural Commissioner Disaster Report form (see links below).

In response to a determination of a natural disaster by the Secretary of USDA, SBA makes an economic injury disaster declaration making low interest loans available to eligible businesses. These include small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, nonprofit organization of any size.



Cal OES IA USDA-SBA Drought Information Sheet OES IA USDA-SBA Drought Infornation Sheet.docCal OES IA USDA-SBA Drought Information SheetAgricultural Community Resources3/17/2015 9:15:15 PM
California Agricultural Commissioner Disaster Report Form Agricultural Commissioner Disaster Report Form.pdfCalifornia Agricultural Commissioner Disaster Report FormAgricultural Community Resources6/17/2019 7:58:28 PM
Instructions for Request for USDA Secretarial Designation for Request for USDA Secretarial Designation.pdfInstructions for Request for USDA Secretarial DesignationAgricultural Community Resources3/17/2015 10:06:53 PM

​Information for Local Jurisdictions

It is the responsibility of the local jurisdiction to provide initial damage estimates (IDE) and determine if the extent of damage is beyond the capabilities of local resources. The damage definitions sheet (see link below) can be used to help compile damage information to be captured on the IDE in CalEOC.

Local officials should be aware of the minimum criteria required for SBA assistance and the factors considered in the 44 Code of Regulations (CFR) for a Presidential Disaster Declaration (see links below).

Requests for assistance should be made as soon as feasibly possible. Based on the IDE, a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) may be conducted when pursuing federal assistance to determine the impact and magnitude of damage. The PDA will consist of a team of local, state, and federal representatives.

Once a PDA is conducted, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) uses the information to determine whether federal assistance is warranted.  Cal OES Individual Assistance can assist local representatives in identifying the need to establish a Local Assistance Center (LAC) and specific resources to assist the community in its recovery efforts.  See LAC Guide below. 



44 CFR FEMA Major Individual Assistance Declaration Criteria CFR FEMA Major Individual Assistance Declaration CriteriaInformation for Local Jurisdictions Resources6/17/2019 7:59:11 PM
Cal OES Degrees of Damage Definitions OES Degrees of Damage Definitions.docCal OES Degrees of Damage DefinitionsInformation for Local Jurisdictions Resources3/17/2015 9:16:44 PM
Criteria for U.S. Small Business Administration Declaration for U.S. Small Business Administration Declaration.pdfCriteria for U.S. Small Business Administration DeclarationInformation for Local Jurisdictions Resources6/17/2019 7:58:31 PM
Local Assistance Center Guide for Local Government Assistance Center Guide for Local Government.docLocal Assistance Center Guide for Local GovernmentInformation for Local Jurisdictions Resources3/17/2015 10:09:06 PM

​Contact us

Individual Assistance

Main Line: (916) 845-8149
Fax: (916) 845-8395

Emilie Hill
Individual Assistance Program Manager

​Katrina Palomar
(916) 845-8146

Region I
Los Angeles
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara

Nicole Benson
(916) 845-8145

Region II
Contra Costa
Del Norte
San Benito
San Francisco
San Mateo
Santa Clara
Santa Cruz

​Becca Berggren
(916) 328-7494

Region III

​Katrina Palomar
(916) 845-8146

Region IV
El Dorado
San Joaquin


Region V


Region VI
San Bernardino
San Diego


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