Where to Go for California Earthquake Assistance


In the wake of the July 2019 California earthquakes and Governor Gavin Newsom’s state of emergency proclamation, a variety of assistance programs are available from state and federal agencies to assist individuals, households, businesses, private non-profit organizations, and local government agencies and special districts. Cal OES will continue to update this post as additional resources become available.

Below is a summary of available assistance:

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Disaster Loans and Economic Injury Loans

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to California businesses and residents affected by earthquakes that occurred July 4-12, 2019.

The SBA disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties in California; and La Paz and Mohave counties in Arizona; and Clark County in Nevada.

SBA representatives are available at Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application.  The centers will be open on the days and times indicated below until further notice. No appointment is necessary.


Disaster Loan Outreach Center

Kerr McGee Center

100 W California Avenue

Ridgecrest, CA 93555

Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.


Disaster Loan Outreach Center

13207 Jones Street

Trona, CA 93562


Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

SBA Loans for Businesses

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

SBA Loans for Homeowners and Renters

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest Rates

Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

How to Apply

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

Application Deadlines

The deadline to apply for property damage is Oct. 7, 2019. The deadline to apply for economic injury is May 7, 2020.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Programs from the USDA include:

The USDA Rural Development’s Home Repair Loan and Grant Pilot Program increases the maximum amount of assistance available to very-low-income homeowners, as well as improves access to the program in an effort to better assist those in need. This program helps repair, improve and modernize homes in eligible rural areas.

To qualify you must:

  • Be the home and lot owner, occupy the house
  • Be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere.
  • For grants, you must be 62 or older and not be able to repay a loan

Applications are available year round as long as funding is available, and are processed in the order they are received.

Generally, rural areas with a population less than 35,000 are eligible. Applicants may check the address of their home to determine eligibility on USDA’s website: https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=sfp&NavKey=property@11

San Bernardino County income limits:

1-4 person family= $35,900

5-8 person family=$47,400

Kern County:

1-4 person family= $32,400

5-8 person family=$42,800

Additional information on the USDA Rural Development’s Repair Home Loan and Grant Program is available at Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants | USDA Rural Development

The USDA Communities and Facilities Loan & Grant Program can help rural communities repair or rebuild their community facilities and replace damaged equipment after a disaster. USDA provides loans and a limited amount of grant funding for the construction, renovation, or purchase and installation of equipment for essential community facilities for public use in rural areas.

Eligible projects include fire and police facilities, community centers, hospitals, schools, city vehicles, food banks, daycare centers, and more.

Eligible applicants include most state and local government entities, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Tribes.

Additional information on the USDA Communities and Facilities Loan & Grant Program is available Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program | USDA Rural Development

The California Employment Development Department (EDD)

EDD offers two programs to assist workers and employers affected by the Ridgecrest Earthquake.

EDD’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to workers who have lost their job and meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

Workers, who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own, such as in the case of a disaster, may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.

More information on Unemployment Insurance is available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program

EDD’s Disaster Assistance for Employers enables employers who are directly affected by a state of emergency to request up to a 60-day extension to file their state payroll reports and to deposit state payroll taxes with EDD, without penalty or interest.

More information about Disaster Assistance for Employers is available at Emergency and Disaster Assistance for Employers

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration offers tax relief for property owners and business affected by the earthquake.

Tax Relief; Calamity Property Tax Reassessment           

Revenue and Taxation Code section 170(a)(1) allows homeowners to apply for reassessment of their property if it has been damaged or destroyed by Governor-declared disaster. The county assessor will immediately reappraise the property to reflect its damaged condition. In addition, when it is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, the property will retain its prior value (Proposition 13) for tax purposes. If a manufactured home is totally destroyed in a Governor-declared disaster, it may be replaced by a comparable unit without an increase in either the property taxes or the vehicle license and registration fees.

More information is available at http://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/disaster-relief.htm

Emergency Tax Relief for Business Owners

Emergency tax or fee relief is available for business owners or fee payers directly affected by disasters through the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Relief may include the extension of tax return due dates, relief of penalty and interest, or replacement copies of records lost due to disasters.

More information is available at https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/services/state-of-emergency-tax-relief.htm

California Department of Community Services and Development (CDS)

Home Energy Assistance Program

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides one-time financial assistance to help low-income households offset an eligible household’s energy costs.

More information is available at https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/services/state-of-emergency-tax-relief.htm

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Crisis Counseling Disaster Distress Helpline

The Crisis Counseling Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

More information is available at https://www.samhsa.gov/

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

203(h) Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims and 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance

Section 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance offers two options for both homebuyers and homeowners:

  • A single mortgage to buy or refinance a home and the cost of its rehabilitation, or
  • Finance the rehabilitation of your existing home.

You may use the money for work ranging from minor to a total rebuild. This could include the following:

  • Residential section rehabilitation of a property that also has non-residential uses.
  • Conversion of any size property to a one- to four-unit structure.

For smaller repairs or rehabilitation, up to $35,000, you may be able to get a Limited 203(k). This is for work that doesn’t require you to buy or refinance the property.

More information is available at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/203k

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

The housing choice voucher program helps very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled afford safe, healthy housing. Housing can include single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments.

More information is available at https://www.hud.gov/topics/housing_choice_voucher_program_section_8

Forbearance and Loan Modifications Programs and Immediate Foreclosure Relief

HUD is offering forbearance and loan modifications for FHA borrowers in the disaster areas.

HUD announced it will grant a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures for Federal Housing Administration-insured home mortgages. HUD explained there are tens of thousands of FHA-insured homeowners in the impacted areas.

More information is available at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/nsc/qaho0121

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH) and Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant

Veterans or Service members with a serious service-connected disability, may be able to get a housing grant from VA.

An SAH grant may be used for one of the following:

  • Build a specially adapted home on land you already own or land you are buying.
  • Remodel an existing home if it can be adapted to meet your needs.
  • Apply the grant to the mortgage balance of an adapted home not bought using VA grant funds.

An SHA grant for one of the following:

  • Adapt the home you currently live in, already owned by you or a family member.
  • Adapt a home for you to live in, being bought by you or a family member.
  • Help you buy a home that’s already adapted for you to live in.

Under either program, you may also be able to get a Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant. You may use this grant if you are or will temporarily live in a home owned by a family member; certain limits apply.

More information is available at https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/disability-housing-grants/how-to-apply/

The California State Bar Association

The California State Bar Association provides legal services and advice to disaster survivors in need in the aftermath of a disaster.

More information is available at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/

California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Report Price Gouging

Price gouging refers to sellers trying to take unfair advantage of consumers during an emergency or disaster by greatly increasing prices for essential consumer goods and services.  California’s anti-price gouging statute, Penal Code section 396, prohibits raising the price of many consumer goods and services by more than 10% after an emergency has been declared.

More information is available at https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/pricegougingduringdisasters


211.org is another helpline that can assist survivors with referrals for food, clothing, employment, crisis counseling, healthcare and other essentials is 211.org. Survivors can simply call 2-1-1 anywhere in the country and speak with a counselor who has access to a variety of nonprofits under the United Way umbrella. The counselor can then steer the survivor to nonprofit organizations in their community that have resources to assist with his or her specific needs. If a survivor is prompted to leave a phone number, 211 staff will return the call as quickly as possible. To learn more, go to the organization’s website at: 211.org.

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

Disaster survivors can obtain more information about potential resources available to them through the Cal OES Disaster Reovery and Assistance guide:


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1 Comment

  1. michele A kirwin

    I appreciate your list of resources for the earthquake survivors but unfortunately none of them will work for me. SBA only helps those that have a fairly good income. I live on a fixed income social security. I went down to the disaster relief center here in Ridgecrest and filled out an application for an SBA loan. They turn me down before I could put my pen back in my purse. So much for working with the people. I also inquired with the USDA rual land grants. It’s crazy because I live out here in the middle of the Mojave desert and there’s one little section there that they do not consider rual and all properties in that area are not eligible for their help. I am 3/4 of a mile away from being eligible. My income and my age qualify me for some kind of aid but that lousy 3/4 mile threw my chances for help right out the window. It’s sad how they pick and choose who gets help. it seems like there should be an organization that the only qualifications are need and no money to meet that need but unfortunately the state of California doesn’t see or hear us. Washington DC tells me that federal aid steps in when my state runs out of resources. It seems to me my state has ran out of resources because it has nothing to offer me in the way of help
    like I was promised. It would rather throw millions into preventing disasters. That is great and I am all for that but don’t you think a small portion of those millions should go to those survivors that have already been through a disaster. One that has already happened. I feel so unnoticed and unimportant like a foreigner in another country..but actually no if I was a foreigner I probably would get help… so sad.
    Let’s not forget the 2..1..1 . They also promised me help said they would pay my electric bill and I believed them. two weeks later my electricity was shut off because the Bill wasn’t paid (they never even notified me to tell me they weren’t going to pay it) and I had to come up with even more money to get my electricity turned back on. Yes I’m very frustrated at this moment I’m thankful that my house is standing and is livable I guess it could be a lot worse but still my States and country should stand behind it’s people not just some of them but all of them especially in a disaster situation such as this. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake is not a stubbed toe .some people really felt the impact.
    I worked all my life and paid my dues and have never asked anything from my government until now. I’m sure I will never ask again. thank you for your time.



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