SACRAMENTO – Following a statewide emergency declaration due to wildfires in Northern and Southern California, as well as the utility-directed power shutoffs that have impacted millions of residents this month, Governor Gavin Newsom today highlighted new and existing partnerships in which local, state, business and philanthropy entities are working together to assist families and businesses during these difficult times.
“Californians are bearing the brunt of these wildfires and power shutoffs, with daily lives and routines being disrupted and turned upside down. I am a firm believer that it takes a community to get us through the tough times together,” said Governor Newsom. “That’s why my administration is pulling together resources to make sure people have access to their basic needs, and that businesses have resources to help them get back on their feet.”
Resources for Residents:
- Workers who have lost work due to extreme weather events can apply for benefits immediately, the Governor waived the one-week waiting period suspension for unemployment insurance benefits. Find more information at the Employment Development Department website;
- Protections from price gouging on housing, gas, food, and other essential supplies, are in place for thirty days following the Governor’s State of Emergency proclamation.
- Families enrolled in the CalFresh program who have suffered food loss as a result of PSPS events are eligible for food replacement.
- California Emergency Medical Services Authority has positioned emergency ambulance strike teams to support individuals with power dependent health equipment.
- Wellness checks are available for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, which is coordinated through a partnership with the Health and Human Services Agency, SEIU and UDW;
- Telecommunications companies are providing mobile hotspots and data access without charge;
- Community foundations are taking donations to support victims of the recent wildfires and those who have been impacted by PSPS events.
- GO-Biz has developed a business resource guide with low-interest loan information and advisory services for businesses. For more information, click here.
- Three state loan programs to support small businesses with funds as low as $500 and up to $5 million through a network of private lending partners, banks and mission-based nonprofit lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).
- IBank Loan Programs
- Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program: IBank will issue loan guarantees up to 95 percent of the loan through its partner Financial Development Corporations to help small business borrowers who were impacted by disasters or public safety power shutoffs and who need term loans or lines of credit for working capital. This disaster program will help lenders and small businesses by providing loan guarantees of up to $1 million for small business borrowers in declared disaster areas. Small businesses, including small farms, nurseries, agriculture-related enterprises and nonprofits that have suffered an economic loss Resources for Businesses and/or physical damage may apply. For more information on how to apply, visit http://www.ibank.ca.gov/small-business-finance-center/
- Jump Start Loan Program: IBank is offering loans from $500 to $10,000 to low-wealth entrepreneurs in the declared disaster and emergency areas through its Jump Start Loan Program. IBank established the Jump Start Loan Program in 2016 as a small loan and financial literacy/technical assistance program designed for low-income small businesses in low-wealth communities, including businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities and those previously incarcerated. Access to IBank’s Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program and Jump Start Loan Program can be made through its partner Financial Development Corporations (FDCs). For more information on how to apply, visit http://www.ibank.ca.gov/small-business-finance-center/.
- California Capital Access Program
- The California Capital Access Program for Small Business (CalCAP SB or Program) encourages banks and other financial institutions to make loans to small businesses that have difficulty obtaining financing. If you own a small business and need a loan for start-up, expansion or working capital, you may receive more favorable loan terms from a lender if your loan is enrolled in the CalCAP Loan Loss Reserve Program. This program helps communities by providing financing to businesses that create jobs and improve the economy. Loans are available up to $5 million.
- CalCAP is a loan loss reserve program which may provide up to 100% coverage on losses as a result of certain loan defaults. With CalCAP portfolio support, a lender may be more comfortable underwriting small business loans. Check to see if your commercial lender or financial institution participates in CalCAP or find a participating lender. If your financial institution does not currently participate, it is easy for lenders to sign up. Please have your institution complete the Financial Institution Application and send to CalCAP to get started. For more information, visit https://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cpcfa/calcap/sb/index.asp. Or, find a participating lender at https://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cpcfa/calcap/sb/institutions.pdf
- Partnering with Kiva, a nonprofit that crowdfunds loans for the underserved small businesses who are not “lender-ready.” Kiva is prepared to deploy its network of trustees in local communities and help them access the Kiva platform for no-interest/no-fee loans up to $10,000. To learn more about the kiva model, visit https://www.kiva.org/borrow.
For Business Operations, the State:
- Waived state procurement rules to allow the state to contract with businesses to mitigate emergency events;
- Relaxed licensing requirements to allow facilities to continue operations and accommodate patient needs;
- The Air Resources Board is exercising maximum discretion in use of portable generators;
- Relaxed some requirements to allow interstate trucks to enter CA to assist in restoration of power lines and other forms of recovery.
Community and Corporate Philanthropy:
- Through Northern California Grantmakers Association, Philanthropy California, the umbrella organization for foundations throughout the state, has been vetting and posting wildfire relief funds to support those most affected by fires, including Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Community Foundation of Sonoma County, Global Giving, UndocuFund, Latino Community Foundation, Solano Community Foundation, and United Way of the Wine Country.
- Through the Airbnb Open Homes program, 800+ hosts have offered their homes to displaced neighbors and relief workers to deploy help.
- World Central Kitchen, an organization founded by celebrity Chef José Andrés and devoted to serving meals in the wake of natural disasters, has served thousands of meals over the past few days to Kincade Fire evacuees and first responders in partnership with local chef Tyler Florence.
- Direct Relief, a global humanitarian organization based in Santa Barbara, committed an initial $1 million in cash, provide critical medical inventories such as N95 masks, personal hygiene items, inhalers and battery-powered generators for health centers affected by the power shutoffs and fires.
The Governor yesterday declared a statewide emergency due to the dangerous weather conditions. Earlier today, Governor Newsom announced the launch of a new state website, RESPONSE.CA.GOV, which serves as a one-stop portal for tools and resources available to Californians who have been impacted by wildfires and utility-directed power shutoffs. The Governor today also announced the state has secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant to help ensure the availability of resources to fight the Getty Fire, met with firefighters and volunteers at the CAL FIRE Base Camp in Sonoma, and joined the state’s top fire and emergency management officials to provide an update on fire and wind conditions. California has also secured Fire Management Assistance Grants to bolster the response to Kincade and Tick fires, for which the Governor previously declared a state of emergency in Sonoma and Los Angeles counties.
Over the course of the past week, the Governor has met with emergency responders, health officials, residents and local leaders in Petaluma, Napa, Geyserville and Los Angeles, and held public briefings regarding the ongoing fire threats and the need to hold utilities accountable for the consequences of their power shutoff decisions.
Today, the Governor called on the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate the power shutoff events of the last month. He has also announced a $75 Million Program for state and local governments to mitigate the impacts of power shutoffs, and unveiled a series of new partnerships and new tools to help secure medically vulnerable populations during these events.
Under Governor Newsom’s leadership, California passed AB 1054, wildfire safety and utility reform legislation that expands the CPUC’s ability to hold utilities accountable for their safety record — a central part of the Governor’s wildfire safety actions.
The legislation created a new wildfire safety division at the CPUC and a board of independent expert advisors to more effectively regulate the safety of publicly owned utilities. The law mandated that utilities tie executive compensation to safety performance, invest $5 billion in safety improvements without profit, and go through a new yearly wildfire safety review and certification process. It also requires new inspections of utility electrical equipment. Under the law, utilities must create a wildfire safety committee in their corporate board, and provide direct board-level safety reporting to the CPUC.