The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors has allocated $1 million to develop a local Earthquake Recovery and Assistance Program to help Humboldt County residents impacted by the Dec. 20 and Jan. 1 earthquakes. The funding in this program is in addition to the $3 million in available funding announced by Senator Mike McGuire earlier this week, which will also be used for recovery (details below).
The local Earthquake Recovery and Assistance Program will provide displaced residents with emergency sheltering, temporary housing, and other individual assistance related to the earthquake, including services typically covered in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Households Program (IHP), as funding is available.
“Rio Dell and the Eel River Valley were hit hardest by these earthquakes, and we are responding as quickly as possible to help residents get back on their feet,” Humboldt County 2nd District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell said. “I want to thank my fellow Board members for immediately recognizing the importance of creating a local program like this to help our community. All of our local agencies, cities, first responders, the state and our elected officials have been amazing partners in this process, and I’m confident that these combined efforts will bring much-needed relief to Humboldt County residents.”
The 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Humboldt County on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, caused significant damage to the City of Rio Dell and surrounding communities in the Eel River Valley. Since the Dec. 20 earthquake, the county has experienced over 200 aftershocks, one of which being a 5.4 magnitude on New Year’s Day and resulted in a significant increase of reported structural damages. Damage assessments are ongoing in communities that experienced earthquake impacts. As of today, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has assessed 1,942 structures. Of these structures, 257 have been “yellow tagged” requiring repairs and over 90 have been “red tagged” or deemed unsafe to enter, resulting in the displacement of approximately 180 residents.
While the damage sustained to the local community is significant, the reported damages have not yet met federal requirements for a federal emergency declaration which would have allowed impacted community members to apply for FEMA IHP funds for services like temporary housing and home repairs. It is unlikely the earthquake, being limited to a rural region like Humboldt, will meet the threshold for a federal declaration, despite local needs.
The $1 million allocated by the Board comes from the federal Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund (LATCF), which was authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Senator Alex Padilla spearheaded an effort to ensure the timely release of LATCF funding to eligible counties.
“From the onset of the first earthquake we began exploring every resource available to help our most impacted residents recover,” Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor and Chair of the Board Steve Madrone said. “Establishing a local fund to provide aid to those who have been displaced was a necessary step in the county’s long path toward recovery. Senator Padilla’s work has given us the tools to provide the assistance needed related to the recent earthquakes, and we cannot express enough how thankful we are.”
Virtual Town Hall Regarding State Assistance
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, in coordination with state and local partners, continues to provide recovery resources to impacted community members. On, Monday, Jan. 9 Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Jim Wood, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the California Department of Housing & Community Development announced $3 million in available funding to aid residents impacted by the December 20 and January 1 earthquakes. Details of the funding will be a focus of an upcoming Earthquake Recovery Town Hall scheduled for today, Thursday, January 12 at 6:30 p.m.
The Earthquake Recovery Town Hall will include additional details regarding the state funding, as well as a comprehensive briefing on recovery programs including the emergency housing that’s currently available for impacted residents, along with services available to assist residents impacted by the earthquake. In addition, officials will provide an update on public infrastructure repairs, discuss on-going needs and focus attention on a soon-to-be established home repair and rental assistance fund.
Watch the Town Hall live at: https://sd02.senate.ca.gov/video or dial in to listen by phone at 1-669-444-9171 and enter the Webinar ID: 836 6783 8430. Community members can RSVP and ask a question for the Town Hall presenters at: https://sd02.senate.ca.gov/humboldt-earthquake-recovery-town-hall
“Humboldt County is so grateful to receive this support from Senator McGuire, Assemblymember Wood, and the State of California,” said County Administrative Officer Elishia Hayes. “Their ongoing partnership has been key to moving the county’s earthquake recovery efforts forward. I encourage the community to join us at the town hall to learn more about resources available to our impacted residents.”
More information regarding the local Earthquake Recovery and Assistance Program will be provided as it becomes available.
For a full list of resources available to Humboldt County residents impacted by the earthquakes, please visit humboldtsheriff.org/emergency.