Earthquake recovery efforts to end incident-related displacement and begin rebuilding continue in Rio Dell and surrounding Humboldt County communities.
Long-Term Earthquake Recovery Planning Efforts Underway
The County of Humboldt, City of Rio Dell and the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) continue to work in partnership on long-term recovery efforts to aid those most impacted by the recent earthquakes.
Ending incident-related displacement continues to be the top priority, and the City of Rio Dell recently passed a resolution (Resolution No.1569-2023) formally prioritizing these efforts.
The Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services’ Recovery Operations Center and local nonprofits are working to facilitate the organization of case management services for Rio Dell residents, which will connect displaced residents with appropriate state and federal funding sources, as well as nonprofits proficient in disaster recovery.
These potential funding sources include the CalHome Program, which enables lower income households to remain homeowners through housing rehabilitation assistance grants to local public agencies and nonprofits, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Single Family Housing Direct Home loans, also known as USDA Section 502 and 504 Direct Loan Programs, which assist low and very-low income applicants in securing safe housing in rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability.
Additionally, the county is working to identify and coordinate with nonprofit agencies that have experience in disaster recovery, including repairing and rebuilding homes. More information will be provided as these partnerships are formalized.
Earthquake Recovery Town Hall
The county is partnering with Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood to schedule the next Earthquake Recovery Town Hall. This virtual town hall will provide a comprehensive briefing on earthquake recovery efforts and services that are and may be available for impacted residents. Presenters will discuss on-going actions being taken to move long-term recovery efforts forward. Scheduling this town hall will take some time as long-term recovery partnerships are still in the process of being formalized. Additional details regarding the upcoming town hall will be released as more information becomes available
Completed Repairs on Residences
Since the December 20 and January 1 earthquakes, building inspectors have designated approximately 91 structures as “red-tagged,” or unsafe to occupy, and over 300 structures “yellow-tagged,” or requiring various safety repairs. Those who have already made the necessary repairs to their residences are asked to make an appointment to schedule a new building inspection to ensure their structure can be removed from the red or yellow-tagged list and added to the “green-tagged” or safe to occupy category. Rio Dell residents are asked to keep all red, yellow, and green tags remaining on their homes until further notice.
Rio Dell residents are encouraged to visit Rio Dell City Hall, located at 675 Wildwood Avenue or call 707-764-3532 to schedule a building inspection. Unincorporated Humboldt County residents are asked to call the county’s Planning and Building Department to schedule an inspection at 707-445-7541 or email email@example.com. Community members in all other municipalities should contact their local planning and building department.
Earthquake Recovery Line and Resources
Humboldt County has assisted approximately 117 households with temporary sheltering as residents have worked to make necessary safety repairs to their homes or find alternate accommodations. After an analysis of the sheltering operation, the Earthquake Recovery Program is no longer accepting new applications for temporary emergency shelter. However, community members with red-tagged residences and qualifying yellow-tagged residences currently utilizing this program may be eligible for sheltering voucher extensions on a case-by-case basis depending on the safety of their primary residence.
Community members with questions related to sheltering eligibility voucher extensions and residential earthquake clean up assistance should contact the Earthquake Recovery Line at 707-441-5000. The recovery line is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Additional resources such as food assistance (CalFresh), cash aid (CalWORKs, General Assistance, Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants) and affordable health insurance (Medi-Cal) may be available for eligible individuals and households. For more information, visit a DHHS social services office or go to www.BenefitsCal.com.
US Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Outreach Center
Over $4 million in US Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans have been issued to Humboldt County residents and over $350,000 to businesses for earthquake repair and recovery purposes. Homeowners, renters, business owners and certain private non-profit organizations impacted by the earthquakes may be eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA to help cover losses due to the earthquake. The SBA Disaster Outreach Center is available to assist residents in determining eligibility and completing applications.
The SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center has relocated to Rio Dell and will be open until Feb. 10, 2023. The Outreach Center is located at the Community Resource Center, at 406 Wildwood Avenue in Rio Dell, and is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Applicants may also apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
The deadline to apply for an SBA loan for property damage is Monday, March 6, 2023. The deadline to apply for economic injury applications is Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. SBA loan recipients are obligated to pay this lender back per their loan agreement.
CalTrans Clean California Program Vouchers for Rio Dell Residents
The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) Clean California Program will provide a limited supply of free earthquake clean up vouchers to Rio Dell residents who have been impacted by the recent earthquakes. These vouchers will allow affected residents in Rio Dell to self-haul earthquake debris and dispose of it at no cost at the Recology Eel River transfer facility, located at 925 Riverwalk Drive in Fortuna. Clean up vouchers will be distributed on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Rio Dell Fire Hall, located at 50 Center Street in Rio Dell. Remaining vouchers will then be available at Rio Dell City Hall, 675 Wildwood Avenue, until Wednesday, Feb. 22. Vouchers will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
For updated information and available resources regarding earthquake recovery, visit humboldtsheriff.org/emergency.