State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC)
Location: 173 North Moorpark Road, Suite A, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Hours: Monday – Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-5pm
DRC are operated by the State of Califonria and The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in partnership with other federal, state, and local agencies.
Representatives from FEMA, the State of California, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other agencies are among those represented to provide information on available services, explain assistance programs, and help survivors complete or check the status of their application.
Survivors with losses are encouraged to register for assistance before visiting the DRC by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling (800) 621-3362 or TTY: (800) 462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call (800) 621-3362 to register. Multilingual options are available and calls are answered from 5am-5pm PST, seven days a week.
Businesses and residents can go to sba.gov/disaster or call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or TTY: (800) 877-8339.
NOTE: It is very important for survivors and those affected by the fires to come to the DRC to sign up for assistance with FEMA and SBA before the deadlines!
FEMA: January 11, 2019
SBA Physical Damage: January 11, 2019
SBA Economic Injury: August 12, 2019
If you are affected by the Thomas Fire, Hill Fire, or Woolsey Fire, please fill out this survey. This is not an application for assistance. The purpose of this document is to gather damage information to assess the level of needs. When assistance is available, a 2-1-1 Outreach Team Member will contact you to discuss your needs and connect you to the assistance that you may qualify for.
Upcoming Roadmap to Recovery Workshop
Insurance and Recovery Orientation – Saturday December 15th, 2018
Workshop’s main focus is on helping you navigate your insurance claim toward a full, fair and prompt settlement. The workshop will also offer guidance on debris removal, temporary living arrangements, government aid, construction issues, hiring professional help, and deciding how and if you will repair, rebuild or buy a replacement home.
This workshop will be offered in two locations:
Malibu Public Library
23519 West Civic Center Way
Malibu, Ca 90265
Thousand Oaks: 3pm-5pm
Thousand Oaks Library – Marvin E. Smith Community Room
1401 E. Janss Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
More information can be found at: https://www.uphelp.org/blog/woolsey-fire-insurance-claim-help
2018 Holiday Bazaar
Organized by 805 Help and Local Love Project
A charitable shopping experience supporting survivors of the Hill Fire, Woolsey Fire, Borderline, Thomas Fire, Holiday Fire, and Montecito Mudslide. Survivors will enjoy a day filled with holiday spirit as they partake in a one-of-a-kind shopping experience thanks to the generosity of our community.
Survivors of the Hill Fire, Woolsey Fire, Borderline, Thomas Fire, Holiday Fire, and Montecito Mudslide will be gifted free entrance to this event, allowing them to shop for themselves and their loved ones in celebration of the holiday season.
This shopping experience will include personal shoppers and donations that include items for children, teens, and adults! After you’re done shopping, take your gifts to the gift-wrapping station where volunteers will get your presents gifting ready.
1-day FREE Shopping Event
Monday, December 17, 2018
To attend you must RSVP:
For more information and to register, visit https://www.805help.org/events
Rain Preparedness Tips
Ventura County residents are encouraged to prepare properties in advance of upcoming rains forecasted. In an effort to help, the Ventura County Fire Department is making an emergency supply of sandbags available to the public. With rain storms predicted this season, VCFD is encouraging residents to plan for possible flooding before it occurs.
Ventura County residents are now able to access free sand and bags at several local fire stations between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. while supplies last (limit 10 per individual). Fire station personnel may or may not be available to assist at the station because of emergency activity, training or other necessary work, so residents should be prepared to fill and transport sandbags.
- Supplies are available at Stations 31, 33, 34, 36, 37 and 56 due to the recent fires.
151 North Duesenberg Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 371-1111 x.31
33 Lake Sherwood Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91361-5113
(805) 371-1111 x.33
555 East Avenida de Los Arboles
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
(805) 371-1111 x.34
855 Deerhill Road
Oak Park, CA 91377
(805) 371-1111 x.36
2010 Upper Ranch Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 371-1111 x.37
11855 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
(805) 371-1111 x.56
- Sand and bags can also be purchased from local DIY stores.
Before arriving at VCFD fire stations, please call (805) 371-1111 or the numbers listed above, for more information.
Before the rain
- Download a “Ready, Set, Go!” flood preparation guide.
- Register your phone to receive “VC Alert” by contacting VC Alert Hotline at (805) 648-9283.
- Stay informed and monitor weather forecasts for potential impacts in your area.
- Identify access route(s) in and out of your neighborhood.
- Keep emergency supplies on hand, such as a flashlight, water, food, first aid kit and a portable radio with extra batteries.
- Clear debris from curbside gutters and drains in yards, driveways, and pool decks, and inspect roofs to check for loose tiles, holes, or other signs of trouble.
- Research flood insurance plans and coverage needs.
- Clear and place sandbags in problem areas if an area has been affected by wildfire or if there have been past flooding problems.
- Inspect storm drains before and after heavy rainfall. If blocked, contact your City Public Works Department or Ventura County Public Works at (805) 654-2001.
During the rain
- Use extreme caution when crossing roads or areas of flowing water. Flowing water can be dangerous and deceivingly deep.
- Keep away from flood control debris basins, channels, facilities, and river beds.
- Check www.vcemergency.com for incident information about road closures, evacuations and any areas impacted by the storm.
Safety Information for Those Returning Home After a Wildfire
The California Wildfires were declared Major Disasters by FEMA on November 12, 2018. If you were impacted by the wildfires, you can register for FEMA assistance by visiting https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or call (800) 621-3362. The number for speech and hearing impaired individuals is (800) 462-7585.
When you apply for the FEMA Aid, please have the following information ready:
- Social Security number
- Address of the damaged home or apartment
- Description of the damage
- Information about insurance coverage
- Telephone number
- Mailing address
- Bank account & routing numbers for direct deposit of funds
Please see image below for general instructions and items needed:
Housing Related Resources
Airbnb has extended its host community in response to the Woolsey fire throughout much of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Diego as well as other adjacent counties. Over 1,600 hosts have opened their homes to displaced survivors and relief workers deployed to help, from November 8, 2018, through December 14.
If you are someone who is impacted and needs free housing, visit www.airbnb.com/woolseyfire
- At the top of the page click, “Find Shelter”
- To learn more about how to book a no-cost listing, visit this guide at airbnbcitizen.com/disaster-response/booking
If you are able to offer temporary housing to those impacted, visit www.airbnb.com/woolseyfire
- At the top of the page click, “Sign Up Your Home”
- To learn more about how to open your space, visit this guide at airbnbcitizen.com/disaster-response/hosting
If you need assistance with finding or offering temporary housing, please call the Open Homes Hotline: (866) 792-5183
The County of Ventura is making rental assistance and other help available to eligible local residents who cannot return to their homes due to the impact by the wildfires in Ventura County. Leave a detailed message at (805) 385-8585 or email to HSA.email@example.com including your name, phone number, number of people in your household, address of residence prior to wildfires, and description of need for assistance.
- California Department of Insurance (DOI) Wildfire Information
You can contact the Department of Insurance for general information and guidance about insurance claims by calling (800) 927-HELP (4357); TDD: (800) 482-4833 or visit http://www.insurance.ca.gov.
- United Policyholders offers insurance claim assistance for people affected by Woolsey Fire. Please visit https://www.uphelp.org/blog/woolsey-fire-insurance-claim-help.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Section 203(h) program allows the FHA to insure mortgages made by qualified lenders to victims of a major disaster who have lost their homes and are in the process of rebuilding or buying another home. For details, visit https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/ins/203h-dft
Under Fannie Mae’s guidelines for single-family mortgages:
- Homeowners impacted by the California wildfires are eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months, during which time they:
– will not incur late fees during this temporary payment break
– will not have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus
- Servicers are authorized to suspend or reduce a homeowner’s mortgage payments immediately for up to 90 days without any contact with the homeowner if the servicer believes the homeowner has been affected by a disaster. Payment forbearance of up to 12 months is available in many circumstances.
- Servicers must suspend foreclosure and other legal proceedings if the servicer believes the homeowner has been impacted by a disaster.
Homeowners can reach out to Fannie Mae directly by calling 800-2FANNIE (800-232-6643). For more information, please visit www.knowyouroptions.com/relief.
http://csmarfirereliefrentals.com/ was created last year due to the Thomas Fire to assist people who have been displaced and need temporary housing due to fires. You may visit this website for available rental information. More rental listings would be added to assist people who have been displaced by the current wildfires.
The Ventura County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office is aware that many residents of Ventura County have been affected by the fires that began November 8th, 2018.
If you have recently sustained a property loss, you may qualify for property tax relief. Please visit the Ventura County Assessor’s website (or click here) for information on filing a Calamity Claim.
All taxpayers that are able to pay their taxes are advised to do so. The due date is still December 10th, postmark accepted. At this time there is no general extension of the December 10th due date.
If you missed the Secured property tax 1st installment due date of December 10th because you were a first responder or your property was damaged, or because you were evacuated from the fire zones, please fill out the Cancellation of Penalty form below, for review by the Tax Collector. Documented verification is required to substantiate your claim.
SoCal Self Storage in Camarillo is offering 2 months free storage for people affected by the recent Wildfires. Please call (805) 482-5700 for details.
- California Driver’s License (800) 777-0133
Visit a California DMV office to complete an application. Replacement license forms must be delivered in person.
- Green cards (800) 375-5283
- Medicare cards (800) 772-1213; TTY: (800) 325-0778
- Military records (866) 272-6272
- Passport (877) 487-2778; TTY: (888) 874-7793
- Social Security card (800) 772-1213; TTY: (800) 325-0778
- Savings Bonds (844) 284-2676
- Tax returns (800) 908-9946
Website: Tips to Help Tax Payers
- Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates, and Divorce Decrees
Currently, the fee for these documents has been waived for survivors of the November 2018 wildfires in Butte, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. You will need to submit a sworn statement that you were impacted by these fires, along with your application. For more information on ordering replacement vital records, visit https://recorder.countyofventura.org/county-recorder/ordering-a-copy-of-vital-records/
- Registration and Certificate of Title (Cars, Boats, and Vessels)
Registration: Call (800) 777-0133 (TTY (800) 368-4327) during regular business hours or visit your local DMV field office and identify yourself as a disaster victim.
Replacement certificate of title: Must complete an Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title REG 227. Application is available at your local DMV office or online here. Attach the damaged title if mutilated, and, unless waived due to the disaster, pay the duplicate title fee of $20.00 ($15.00 for boats and other vessels).
Submit the application either in person at your local DMV office or mail it to:
DOCUMENT & RECORD REPLACEMENT
60 Current as of November 20, 2018
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
California Employment Development Department (EDD) announced Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has been made available in Butte, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties.
The deadline for filing a DUA claim for these counties is December 14, 2018. After this date, the claim will not be considered timely and will not be honored. Claims are being taken by the EDD via their UI Online system at https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/UI_Online.htm or apply by phone on Monday-Friday between 8am and noon.
English: (800) 300-5616
Spanish: (800) 326-8937
Chinese (Cantonese): (800) 547-3506
Chinese (Mandarin): (866) 303-0706
Vietnamese: (800) 547-2058
For more information, visit https://www.edd.ca.gov/About_EDD/pdf/Camp-Hill-Woolsey-DUANewsrel.pdf
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a partnering program between the USDOL and FEMA to provide funds to state UI agencies for the payment of UI benefits under certain circumstances. It provides disaster unemployment assistance to individuals who have lost employment as the result of a major disaster and are NOT otherwise eligible for regular UI benefits.
Individuals are eligible if they lived, worked, or were scheduled to work in the affected areas and:
- No longer have a job or place to work; or
- Cannot reach the place of work; or
- Cannot work as the result of damage to the place of work; or
- Cannot work due to injury sustained in the disaster
- Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household due to the death of head of household resulting from the disaster
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest, long term disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organization, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace uninsured/underinsured disaster damaged property. Visit the Disaster Recovery Center, call (800) 659-2955, or visit disasterloan.sba.gov/ela for assistance. Applicants MUST register with FEMA first before contacting SBC for assistance.
Types of Disaster Loans available:
- Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery, and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc. are also eligible.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster.
- Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.
Application Filing Deadlines:
Physical Damage: January 11, 2019
Economic Injury: August 12, 2019
Fire Relief Loans
Jewish Free Loan Association is offering help to those impacted by the local fires with a no fee and interest-free loan of up to $15,000 for:
- Temporary housing
- Emergency clothing needs
- Other fire-related losses
Two guarantors are required. Guarantors must:
- Have steady income
- Have a credit score of 680 or above
- Be 25 years of age or older
- Be permanent residents of California
- Have no current activity with the Jewish Free Loan Association as borrower or co-signor
- Not be on active military duty
- Be willing and able to repay the loan if the co-signer is unable to repay successfully
Visit https://www.jfla.org/pre-loan-application/ to fill out a pre-loan application. JFLA will contact you and guide you through the next steps of the application process. Or call (323) 761-8830 for more information.
Small Business Loans
Loans are considered on a case-by-case basis and can be up to $30,000.00. Each applicant must present individual circumstances to be considered by the Loan Committee.
JFLA does not offer Small Business loans to nonprofit organizations.
- Applicants must be permanent residents of Los Angeles or Ventura counties
- Borrowers must demonstrate need and have the ability to repay the loan;
- Two guarantors are required on each loan
- Borrower must submit required documentation by mail to the main Jewish Free Loan Association office prior to receiving an appointment.
For more information visit, https://www.jfla.org/loan-programs/small-business-loans/.
Current CalFresh Recipients:
Participants of CalFresh, the nutrition assistance program for many low-income households, will temporarily be allowed to use their benefits to buy hot food through mid-December in 14 California counties affected by the wildfires. The temporary policy will include participants in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Kern, Plumas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties.
Individuals not currently reciving CalFresh:
If you need food, even if you are not currently receiving CalFresh benefits, you may qualify for Disaster CalFresh (also known as D-CalFresh). If you are not already a CalFresh recipient but were impacted by the disasters, you may qualify for a temporary month of benefits if the income you received during this period is below certain limits. Please see the following website for additional information: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/Disastercalfresh
You may qualify for “expedited service” and receive CalFresh benefits within three days if you are homeless or have less than $150 in monthly income and less than $100 in liquid resources.
If you are already a recipient of CalFresh (federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)), you may be eligible for benefits to replace food lost due to fire, loss of electricity, flooding, etc. On November 16, 2018, the government waived the usual requirement to report, within 10 days, a loss of food purchased with SNAP benefits and submit an associated request for replacement benefits for households in Butte, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. As of November 16, 2018, the new deadline to make a request for a replacement is December 10, 2018. Contact the Ventura County Human Services Agency for more information (888) 472-4463 or visit https://www.ventura.org/human-services-agency/
On November 16, 2018, the federal government also approved California’s request to allow SNAP recipients in certain counties (including Butte, Ventura, and Los Angeles, as well as Colusa, Glenn, Kern, Orange, Plumas, Tehama, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Sutter, and Yuba) to purchase hot food at SNAP authorized retailers. Affected SNAP households in these counties are able to buy hot food with their SNAP benefits through at least December 17, 2018.
If your family currently receives assistance from CalWORKs and you were impacted by the fires, you may be eligible for additional assistance, including a one-time, non-recurring special needs assistance payment of up to $600.
To qualify for this special payment, you must have an emergency need due to sudden and unusual circumstances beyond your control and $100 or less in liquid resources. If you qualify for a special needs assistance payment, the money can be used to repair or replace clothing or household items, provide assistance for damage to your home, including moving or storage payments due to such damage, or pay for interim shelter if your home is destroyed or made uninhabitable or inaccessible.
You should contact your caseworker for additional information. If you are homeless, you may apply for temporary and permanent housing assistance. Applicant families who have received homeless assistance in the last 12 months and who have been impacted by the fires may be entitled to an exception to the once every 12 months limit. You may be eligible for an immediate needs payment of up to $200 if you have $100 or less in liquid resources (for example, cash).
Please note that CalWORKs regulations exclude counting of federal disaster and emergency assistance for eligibility determination purposes; so, FEMA relief, American Red Cross relief, and D-CalFresh will not impact your eligibility for CalWORKs.
If you do not wish to receive CalWORKs on an ongoing basis, consider applying for CalWORKs diversion payments, which are short-term, non-recurring benefits designed to deal with a specific crisis situation or item of need and may be appropriate for some displaced families. For additional information regarding CalWORKS benefits, contact the human services agency: (888) 472-4463 or visit https://www.ventura.org/human-services-agency/calworks/
Health & Mental Health Related Resources
- Doctor on Demand – Through November 30, 2018, Doctor On Demand is covering the cost of psychology visit to those impacted by the Thousand Oaks tragedy, and medical visit for those impacted by the California fires. Apply code CA18 to your account to have your visit covered. The medical doctors are available to treat respiratory conditions, skin and eye irritation, throat and sinus issues, and can prescribe medication. They also provide clients with emotional support, including help with stress and anxiety.
- Anthem Blue Cross/LiveHealth Online – If you need direct assistance with finding available care providers, prescription refills or replacements, and/or any other health insurance related matters, please call 1-888-831-2238, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and weekends, from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
If you live in Butte, Los Angeles, or Ventura counties, the following temporary changes to your benefits are in effect to help you get the care you need:
These medical and pharmacy guidelines are effective from November 9, 2018 until December 9, 2018, unless further extended.They apply to members covered by Anthem’s employer group, individual plans, and family plans, Anthem’s Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans in the three impacted counties. These relaxed benefits do not apply to Federal Employees Health Benefits Program as that program has specific guidelines.Free, Unlimited Online Medical and Psychology Visits Through December 31stConsumers who need medical care can also access LiveHealth Online, Anthem’s 24/7 telehealth service, via the LiveHealth Online app and website at livehealthonline.com. LiveHealth Online offers video visits with U.S.-based board certified doctors on a mobile device or computer from anywhere for non-emergency health conditions. Anyone in California who downloads the mobile app or visits livehealthonline.com and registers will be able to visit with a doctor for free by selecting the “Help for Wildfires Medical” practice. The free visit offer will be available through December 31, 2018.Anthem Resources for Assistance and SupportAdditionally, Anthem’s EAP provides resources and support services to help with emotionally stressful situations as well as with financial and legal concerns. Anthem’s EAP tools will be offered at no cost and will be available 24/7 at 877-208-8240 through the EAP crisis line or by visiting anthemeap.com and using the login code “cawildfires.”
- Relaxing time limits for prior authorization, pre-certification, and referral requirements.
- Suspending early refill limits for prescriptions.
- Allowing replacement of medical equipment or supplies.
Extending filing deadlines for claims.
California HOPE (Helping, Outreach, Possibilities, Empowerment) of Ventura County is a federally funded and trained community-based counseling program created to support the community following a disaster. The team provides specific services aimed at addressing the ongoing behavioral health needs of the community, in collaboration with Ventura County Behavioral Health. (Language: English, Spanish)
California HOPE services include:
- Individual and group counseling for survivors, family, and friends.
- Assessment and referrals
- Distribution of educational materials
- Helping disaster victims understand their current situation and reactions
- Reducing stress and providing emotional support
- Assisting survivors in creating a wellness and recovery plan
- Promoting the use or development of coping strategies and personal resilience
- Providing friends and family with education to support those affected
- Connecting survivors to resources
Weekly Support Group
California HOPE is hosting a weekly support group for individuals being impacted by the Thomas Fire and the current fires
Time: every Mondays at 6pm – 7:30pm
Location: Our Lady of the Assumption Church – 3175 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003
Weekly Spanish Adult Support Group is also available every Tuesday in Santa Paula.
- Wildfire Support Group in Ventura:
Kaiser Permanente, 4949 Market Street, Ventura, CA – Community Room Building (outside in front of the main building).
Wednesdays, 3:30pm – 5pm (for eight weeks), beginning November 28, 2018. Call 805-449-3442 to confirm attendance.
- Wildfire Support Group in West San Fernando Valley:
Kaiser Permanente, 21263 Erwin Street, Woodland Hills, CA.
Wednesdays, 5:00 – 6:30 PM (for eight weeks), beginning November 28, 2018. Call 805-449-3442 to confirm attendance.
West Valley Counseling Center & Ventura Counseling and Wellness Center provide affordable therapy for individuals, families, couples, children, and groups in a private practice setting. Currently, they also offer a number of different group therapy options through their art therapy program. They aim to meet the needs of those who cannot afford or do not have access to these services due to economic circumstances. These centers are currently acquiring funding to further reduce costs to individuals affected by the recent fires who are in need of mental health assessment and counseling services.
Please call the center nearest you to schedule and/or go through a quick intake assessment and get connected to a therapist.
West Valley Counseling Center
Ventura Counseling and Wellness Center
The Disaster Distress Line provides immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Covers topics such as stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms related to a disaster.
Call 800-985-5990 (English and Spanish) or text TalkWithUs (Hablanos for Spanish) to 66746 to connect with a counselor. Available 24/7.
Uninsured survivors of the Woolsey Fire are eligible for free prescription refills, vaccines, and medical supplies.
· Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP), has been launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
· A contractor administers this program on behalf of HHS and will immediately begin taking claims for prescription drugs, vaccines, specific medical supplies and limited durable medical equipment like wheelchairs and oxygen concentrators.
· The program pays for a 30-day supply of prescription medications for people without health insurance who are affected by disasters. Most pharmacies in Ventura county participate in EPAP. You must provide proof of a new or existing prescription.
· If you need replacement durable medical equipment, medical supplies, or vaccinations that do not usually require a prescription, ask your healthcare provider to contact the pharmacy. All prescriptions processed through EPAP are free of charge.
· To find a participating pharmacy online, visit https://go.usa.gov/xPUGC and call the pharmacy listed for your ZIP code to confirm it is open.
· If you have questions about EPAP, call 855-793-7470 or visit https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/epap/Pages/
A legal hotline is now available for survivors of the wildfires in California in Butte, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. Disaster survivors facing legal issues in Ventura or Los Angeles counties who are unable to afford a lawyer may call the hotline at 877-301-4448. Hours are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday.
The type of legal assistance available includes:
- Assistance with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors
- Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors
- Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster
- Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures
- Counseling on mortgage and foreclosure problems
- Counseling on landlord-tenant problems
The State Bar of California is warning the public to watch out for and report potential fraud in response to the recent fires across the state. As a result of California’s ongoing fires, many people may wish to seek legal advice for various reasons, including insurance disputes, seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, employment issues, landlord tenant disputes, consumer fraud, and more.
Some important things to know when seeking legal aid after a disaster is that California law prohibits lawyers or others acting on behalf of a lawyer from:
- Soliciting clients at an accident scene, at a hospital, or on the way to a hospital
- Soliciting clients who, due to their physical, emotional or mental state, may not be able to have reasonable judgment about the hiring of an attorney
- Seeking clients by mail unless the letter and envelope are clearly labeled as an advertisement
- Promising a particular outcome from the legal representation
In the wake of the fires, there is also the risk of victims being approached in person, by mail, email or other means, by people posing as attorneys. Consumers must carefully check that people offering legal services are legitimate and licensed to provide such services.
Before hiring an attorney, Californians should check the State Bar website for the status of an attorney’s license to practice law and whether they have any record of discipline.
State Bar’s additional resources for consumers:
Donations & Volunteer Opportunities
- Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) has set up a specific fund to assist with the urgent needs of people affected by the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire. To donate, visit https://vccf.org/donate/hill-fire-and-woolsey-fire-sudden-and-urgent-needs-effort/
- United Way Greater LA and United Way Ventura have set up a joint relief fund to assist people affected by the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire. To donate, visit https://www.unitedwayla.org/en/give/disaster-relief-fund/
- 211 Ventura County, a program of Interface Children & Family Services, is accepting donations to help Borderline Bar & Grill Incident survivors and their support systems as well as community members impacted by the current fires. Specifically, your gift will be used to provide crisis counseling, case management, and vital linkages to resources. To donate, send a gift to Interface by visiting https://www.icfs.org/211vc/ or text keyword 211VC to 898-211.
- The American Red Cross accepts donations to help people affected by the fires. Visit RedCross.org, or text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a donation.
- International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has a Disaster Relief Fund which provides financial assistance to its members living in disaster areas who have also experienced losses of their own. To donate, visit https://foundation.iaff.org/disaster-relief/
- The Firefighters Charitable Foundation accepts donations to support volunteer fire stations and help wildfire victims. To donate, visit https://www.ffcf.org/
- Salvation Army Ventura Corps accepts donations to help people affected by the fires, visit https://ventura.salvationarmy.org/ to make a donation.
- United Way Ventura County has been designated by the Ventura County Office of Emergency Services (OES) as the agency responsible for managing Unaffiliated Spontaneous Volunteers through the Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC).
An Unaffiliated Spontaneous Volunteer is anyone from the community that wants to volunteer to help and is not already an Affiliated Volunteer trained by programs. It is open to all local residents regardless of skills or physical limitations. Children under 18 are eligible when in the company of their parent or guardian. Groups are encouraged.
For information on Disaster Spontaneous Volunteers opportunities, please visit http://www.volunteerventuracounty.org/need/detail/?need_id=311201