Wildfire victims in eight California counties can now apply for federal grants and loans


Individuals and businesses in eight northern California counties can now apply for federal grants and low-interest loans to cover uninsured losses caused by wildfires.

Saturday, the President Trump approved one-on-one assistance for residents of Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties, and on Mondays, Monterey County has been added to the list.

Following these major disaster declarations, individuals can now apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover temporary housing, home repair or replacement, and other fire-related expenses. forest, including medical, dental, funeral, transportation, child care and personal property expenses.

Grants do not have to be repaid unless they cover losses or expenses that will then be covered by insurance. FEMA urges landlords and renters to contact their insurance company first to see what losses may be covered. Grants can cover losses that are uninsured or that exceed the limits of a home or renter’s insurance policy.

Wildfire victims can get up to $35,500 for housing assistance and $35,500 for other expenses.

The disaster declaration also makes individuals and businesses in the same eight counties eligible for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration.

Homeowners and tenants can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property not covered by insurance. Homeowners and renters can also borrow up to $40,000 to replace uninsured personal property, including cars, lost or damaged in fires.

To request individual assistance from FEMA, go to www.disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.

Businesses and nonprofits of any size can borrow up to $2 million to cover uninsured losses of physical property, including machinery, furniture, fixtures and inventory.

Small businesses and nonprofits of any size can also apply for economic disaster loans for working capital that they can use for payroll, rent, or other operating expenses.

The $2 million loan limit applies to physical and economic injury loans combined.

Interest rates are typically 3% for businesses, 2.75% for nonprofits, and 1.19% for landlords and tenants, with terms up to 30 years.

Businesses in counties contiguous to the eight of the disaster declaration can only apply for disaster loans for economic harm. These include Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Glenn, Marin, Mendocino, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Sutter.

To apply for an SBA loan, go to http://bit.ly/sbafireloans. The application deadline is October 21 for physical damage loans and May 24 for economic damage loans.

The internal revenue department said monday it gives residents of those counties until December 15 to file returns and pay taxes due from August 15 through December 15. People who had a valid extension to file their 2019 return before October 15 now have until December 15. However, the tax payments due for 2019 were due on July 15 and these payments are not eligible for this relief.

The December 15 deadline also applies to estimated quarterly income tax payments due September 15, quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due October 31, and several business deadlines. and tax-exempt organizations.

Kathleen Pender is a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @kathpender


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