Governor Brown and California Congressional Delegation Request Funding for Wildfire Relief

California Governor Jerry Brown worked with his state’s Congressional delegation to request $7.4 billion from the federal government for relief efforts following last month’s wildfires. Governor Brown also directed a state agency to allocate $41.5 million in state funds for debris removal, hazardous waste cleanup, and aid for residents not eligible for federal assistance due to their immigration status.

Governor Brown and 41 members of the California Congressional delegation sent a letter to President Trump on November 3, asking him to include $7.4 billion for wildfire recovery in his request to Congress for additional disaster funding. Of the total amount, the largest requests are:

  • $1.0 billion for Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), required because of an estimated 6,000 homes that were lost or severely damaged in an area that had a pre-fire vacancy rate of 1% to 2%.  
  • $1.4 billion for FEMA assistance, especially for Public Assistance Categories C-G for permanent work for roads, bridges, water control facilities, and other infrastructure, as well as for hazard mitigation.
  • $3.1 billion for USDA, primarily for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program, anticipating that 2,000 previously unassisted households will apply for D-SNAP and another 3,500 current SNAP participants will seek disaster supplements.

Although the letter was circulated to the entire California delegation, only one Republican, Representative Ed Royce, signed the request for funding.

Governor Brown also directed the California Department of Finance to expedite the allocation of $41.5 million to help address immediate needs in impacted areas, including cleanup, hazardous waste removal, and assistance for Californians impacted by the fires who are not eligible for federal aid. Five million dollars managed by the Department of Social Services will aid wildfire victims who are not eligible to receive federal disaster assistance because of their immigration status. The funds will help these individuals and families with food, housing, utility, and other expenses. The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will dedicate $35 million to debris removal and cleanup efforts, while the Department of Toxic Substances Control will direct $1.5 million to support hazardous waste cleanup operations. Household hazardous waste has already been removed from more than 3,000 lots, and debris removal is starting across the impacted counties.