After the Disaster

Disaster Declarations

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (the Stafford Act) §401 establishes the authority of the United States President to extend federal aid in a disaster upon the state governor's request when certain criteria are met.

Emergency Declaration
Emergency declarations supplement State and local or Indian tribal government efforts in providing emergency services, such as the protection of lives, property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.  The total amount of assistance provided for in a single emergency may not exceed $5 million.

Major Disaster Declaration
The President can declare a major disaster for any natural event, including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought, or, regardless of cause, fire, flood, or explosion, that the President determines has caused damage of such severity that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond.  A major disaster declaration provides a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work.

Damage Assessments

In order to qualify for federal assistance post disaster, local jurisdictions need to tell the damage story of their communities. The Ventura County Sheriff's Emergency Services team works with Ventura County cities, public agencies, non-profits, special districts and individuals to collect damage reports in order to present the most accurate damage estimates. We do this in several ways:

  • Collect damage reports from residents via After a disaster, a damage form will be made available for residents to record damage to their property and upload photos and other documents as needed.
  • Collect and compile damage reports from cities, public agencies, special districts and non-profits to present as one package to FEMA.
  • Conduct field-level damage assessments, including mapping and photo documentation.

All of this information is presented to FEMA in hopes of unlocking the most beneficial assistance to our residents.

FEMA Individual Assistance

Under a Presidential Declaration, FEMA may extend Individuals and Households Assistance to local residents who have uninsured or under-insured disaster-related expenses. Assistance may include funds for:

  • Temporary housing while you are unable to live in your home.
  • A temporary housing unit in situations where housing is not available.
  • Repair or replacement of owner-occupied homes used as primary residences.
  • Other uninsured or under-insured disaster-related expenses and serious needs.

U.S. Small Business Administration

Businesses, homeowners, renters and private nonprofit organizations affected by a locally declared disaster may be eligible for a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Loans may be used for uninsured or under-insured losses which are also ineligible for other federal assistance. Loans are available for:

  • Homeowners may borrow up to $500,000 to replace or repair their primary residence.
  • Homeowners and Renters may borrow up to $100,000 to replace or repair personal property- such as clothing, furniture, cars and appliances.
  • Interest rates are lower than current market rates.
  • Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on the individual's financial qualifications.

FEMA Public Assistance

When an area has received a Presidential declaration of emergency or major disaster then local governments and certain types of private non-profit organizations may be eligible for Public Assistance for:

  • A facility that qualifies as a building, public works system, equipment or improved and maintained natural feature.
  • Work that qualifies as either emergency or permanent and is required as a result of the locally declared disaster.
  • Costs that are associated with eligible work.

Get Started on Your Emergency Kit

Don't wait until an emergency happens, when it's too late! Ready Ventura County makes it easy for you to create a kit that's just right for your household. Use our plan builder to get started today.