At Citrus Heights’ City Hall on Monday, evacuees Ken and Eva Thompson explained how they’d lost everything in the fire, and that their insurance company was refusing to pay all of his claim.
"I come from a high-tech background. If these people were working for me, they'd [the insurance company] be fired immediately, because they're just not getting it. They're just not even close," he said.
The Thompsons were seeking help at a mobile disaster recovery center in Sacramento, one of two locations that will be open for the next few weeks for Camp Fire survivors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration are operating the centers, which are also open in the East Bay.
FEMA says opening locations in Sacramento and elsewhere outside of Butte County is important because it provides people as many ways to communicate as possible. “They need to stay in close contact with FEMA, close contact with an agent,” said spokesman Michael Hart. “We’re here to fill in the cracks from what your insurance provides.”
The Small Business Administration provides low-interest loans to people who people who were uninsured or underinsured. "A homeowner can be eligible for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence and then they may be eligible for an additional $40,000 for their contents or their damaged vehicle," spokeswoman Yolanda Stokes said.
Business owners can apply for as much as $2 million, and interest rates range from 2 to 3.7 percent. The SBA has approved $185 million in loans in California this year, $166 million of which has gone to Camp Fire victims.
The recovery center is near where fire evacuee David Crane is staying with his wife and disabled son. He says he was grateful for shelter — but just received a notice from a “hotel services coordinator” with ALE Solutions that says he owes nearly $1,100 for the hotel.
"I'm not even sure how this whole process works,” Crane said, adding that he’s been trying to figure things out up in Chico while staying in Roseville. “We just don't have the gas money to go up there all the time. So this is a blessing that [FEMA is] down here for us where we can actually get some help.”
Learn more about the FEMA centers at FEMA.gov.