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Disaster recovery center opens for SLO County residents affected by recent storms 

slo county flood

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- A Disaster Recovery Center opened today in San Luis Obispo to help provide assistance for residents affected by recent storms.

Starting at noon Tuesday, the center is now available seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Memorial Building.

Residents that have suffered storm-related damage will be able to receive information regarding federal assistance and disaster loans, update applications, as well as learn about other available resources.

"It's open to the community, for people to be able to come in, find out the status of your claim, if you have already registered with FEMA," said FEMA media relations specialist Renee Bafalis. "If you haven't already registered, you can register here as well."

The center is a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), and County of San Luis Obispo.

"This is where anyone who has been affected by the storms can come for assistance, so they can come here to apply for federal financial assistance and be connected with other services that may assist them," said Rachel Dion, SLO County Emergency Services Coordinator. "We have agencies here from local, state and federal level, anywhere from the DMV to the USDA to County Behavioral Health to Planning and Building. It's our one-stop shop, so you don't have to call a bunch of different phone numbers or go to a different building. You can come right here and get it all."

Several other federal and county agencies will also be on hand, including: the Internal Revenue Service, insurance services, Small Business Administration, legal assistance, and various non-profit organizations. Information from the Agriculture Commissioner, County Assessor and Clerk Recorder will also be available.

Dion added the information is especially impactful since most of those who have incurred storm damages have never gone through the recovery process before.

"We have talked to a lot of our residents who are really confused about the process," said Dion. "There are so many different agencies that they have to go to. This really allows them to come to one location and they can talk to a real person and have people walk them through the process."

The deadline to apply for financial aid through the FEMA assistance program is March 16, 2023.

"We have FEMA representatives here that can help you with our individual assistance program," said Befalis. "(It) offers many things, such as rental assistance if you've had to move out of your home, can help you with some simple repairs that you've may have in your home, maybe you've lost some of your personal belongings, if you've had childcare, if you've lost a vehicle or damaged a vehicle, we'll be able to assist you with some sort of transportation. Things of that sort. We ask people if you have insurance, register with your insurance first and let them know you've had damages, and then, come and register with FEMA because FEMA can't duplicate what your insurance company covers, but if you have uninsured or underinsured needs, we might be able to assist you with that."

There is no predetermined date on when this center will close. It will remain open as long as the need remains in San Luis Obispo County.

For more information, call the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services at (805) 781-5678.

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Dave Alley

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