As Chairman of the Committee with oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), I have been working non-stop to make sure Oregonians have the Federal resources they need to fight these fires, find shelter, and begin rebuilding. I worked with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and the Trump Administration to expedite approval of Governor Kate Brown’s request to declare a Major Disaster declaration for Oregon. The declaration, along with subsequent action from the Small Business Administration (SBA), provides a number of programs to assist individuals, households and businesses, along with assistance for public agencies and selected non-profits that have participated in response efforts.
Individual Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently available for Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties. This may expand as damages in additional counties are assessed by the State and FEMA. But please know, Government disaster assistance only covers basic needs and usually will not compensate you for your entire loss. Contact your insurance providers if you have insurance. The government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy.
Any resident or property owner in the counties listed above who has been impacted by the fires should register with FEMA to determine eligibility for assistance. You can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) [TTY 800-462-7585] or online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Be prepared with the following information to register:
- Social Security Number
- Insurance policy information
- Address of the damaged primary dwelling
- A description of disaster-caused damage and losses
- Current mailing address
- Current telephone number
- Total household annual income
- Routing and account number of your checking or savings account (for direct transfer to your bank account)
For more information about applying for Federal disaster assistance, please review this fire recovery guide and visit the Wildfire Resources Page on my website. For help working with a Federal agency, please reach out to my office at (541) 465-6732 or toll-free at 800-944-9603.
Assistance Available from the Federal Government
For residents or property owners in the covered counties, FEMA may be able to provide a range of Individual Assistance to help you get through this crisis and begin the recovery process. To access FEMA assistance, you will need to apply and answer a series of questions that will determine your eligibility. Please see the next section for more details on the process.
Types of Individual Assistance: FEMA provides a range of individual assistance to qualified applicants. Below is a brief summary of available services. A full list can be found at: https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance.
- FEMA may be able to provide assistance paying for temporary shelter (including hotels or renting a home) if you have been evacuated and need longer-term housing while you wait for your home to be repaired or rebuilt.
- In limited cases, FEMA can provide financial assistance to repair or rebuild property that has been damaged or destroyed by the fires and is not covered by insurance.
- FEMA can occasionally help to replace essential personal belongings that were destroyed in the disaster.
How to Apply for Disaster Assistance
Individual Assistance. To receive assistance from FEMA, you can apply in the following ways:
- Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
- Constituents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
Small Business, Homeowners, or Renters Assistance. The Trump administration has approved SBA loans for businesses and nonprofit organizations in the covered counties. The SBA loans of up to $2 million are to help businesses to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.
- After registering with FEMA, businesses and homeowners can apply for SBA loans online at: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/small-business-loans/disaster-loans.
Businesses that received Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) in response to the COVID-19 crisis may still be eligible for assistance under this disaster and are encouraged to apply.
Unemployment Assistance. People who are out of work due to the fires may be eligible for unemployment benefits or those displaced individuals may need to update their information accordingly with the Oregon Employment Department (OED).
OED has put together this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to help answer some of your questions. To contact OED directly, There is also a dedicated option to the Contact Us form for people who have evacuated and need help with a claim, or need assistance getting a new ReliaCard or setting up direct deposit. You can also contact OED by phone at 1-877-345-3484, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. OED has also created a Wildfires Alert box to its site with an update on office outages and closures, and links to key resources for people impacted by the fires. OED anticipates to be able to start making disaster unemployment assistance payments next week.
Tax Relief and IRS Assistance. In September, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that victims of Oregon wildfires now have until January 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. This comes after the Oregon delegation pushed the IRS to deliver this much-needed relief.
For more information, please visit the IRS’s website.
For homeowners wanting information about their residences.
- Call 541-682-3977 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
- Visit the resource center at the Lane Events Center, 796 W. 13th Avenue in Eugene from noon to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week.
In-person crisis support with Lane County Behavioral Health. The Graduate Hotel (66 E. Sixth Ave., Eugene), Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Emotional Support Line: 1-800-923-HELP (4357)
Disaster Stress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. The line is available in 100 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The damage from the wildfires across Oregon is catastrophic, and the scale of the recovery is beyond the capabilities of the State. I’m grateful that the White House approved Oregon’s Major Disaster declaration in record time. This decision will make more Federal aid available for survivors of the fires and give communities the resources they need to start to rebuild.
You can be sure that I will continue pushing for the resources Oregonians need to respond to and recover from these wildfires. I know, as always, that our community will come back stronger than before.