No FEMA Bailout for Russian River Flood Victims

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Although President Donald Trump finally approved a federal disaster declaration in the wake of February’s Russian River floods, lower river homeowners won’t be seeing federal aid.

That’s because the California Office of Emergency Services says it didn’t find sufficient damage to ask for federal funds.

Although initial county estimates were that almost 2 thousand homes received major damage, the state says it found only 151 that showed the level of damage that would qualify for federal assistance.   Therefore, the state didn’t ask for federal FEMA assistance, since the threshold normally requires major damage to 800 homes.

In spite of that however, the federal disaster declaration means Sonoma County, Lake, Mendocino, Marin and Napa counties will be getting federal dollars to repair public roads and bridges.

In Sonoma County, that could bring in almost 20 million dollars in reimbursement funds to offset an estimated 23 million dollars in needed repairs to county infrastructure.

As for homeowners left out of the bailout, Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose district includes west Sonoma County says federal rules are stacked against rural communities, where less dense development can make it difficult to reach the threshold for federal disaster assistance.

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