American Canyon Eagle: Deadline extended for aid to Napa County residents hurt by pandemic and wild fires

February 16, 2021 by Register Staff

Napa Valley Community Foundation announced that cash assistance programs to help local residents endure the economic pain of the pandemic and recover from last year’s wildfires will continue into the summer.

Two types of aid initially made available in 2020 will remain on offer until at least June 30: grants for homeowners and renters whose primary residence was damaged or destroyed by the 2020 wildfires; and rental assistance grants for workers facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or the LNU and Glass fires, which burned for 10 weeks during peak harvest and visitation season for Napa Valley.

The emergency financial assistance programs are a collaboration between the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, which is managed by NVCF; and two local nonprofit organizations, On the Move (OTM) and UpValley Family Centers (UVFC). Collectively, the organizations have distributed more than $6.5 million to several thousand households currently struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 wildfires, and prior to that, from the 2017 Napa Fire Complex.

“During and after a disaster, cash aid is paramount but it can’t stand alone” said NVCF President Terence Mulligan. “People who live through trauma very often need human services in addition to financial assistance, and it can take time before they are ready to access available help – which is why we have extended these important programs.”

Mulligan noted that in addition to supporting OTM and UFVC to offer comprehensive disaster assistance alongside cash grant disbursement, the Foundation also has made major grants to 17“second responder” nonprofits to provide services to people who have suffered as a result of the fires or pandemic, such as physical and mental healthcare, legal and fair housing services, hot meals and groceries, and domestic violence help.

Collectively, more than 27,000 residents have been served by these services. Workers who are struggling to make ends meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic or the 2020 fires can qualify for assistance if they can demonstrate that they live in Napa County and are facing economic hardship because of either disaster; are not eligible for government-sponsored unemployment benefits through EDD or Disaster Unemployment Assistance; and have annual household income at or below $121,000 for a family of four (or 120% of Area Median Income for Napa County).

Renters or homeowners whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the 2020 wildfires must have received a red or yellow tag on their primary residence in Napa County, and have annual household income at or below $151,000 for a family of four (or 150% of Area Median Income for Napa County).

Emergency financial assistance can be used to meet basic living expenses such as food and housing. It can also be used to replace essential household contents lost in the fires (including automobiles and work tools/equipment), make repairs or rebuild.

Workers are eligible for grants of up to $1,500; renters of up to $3,500; and homeowners of up to $7,500. Emergency financial assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified applicants, and staff are available to assist in English or Spanish.

To apply for assistance because of COVID-19, contact: For residents of Calistoga, St. Helena and surrounding areas: call (707) 965-5010 or email efa@upvalleyfamilycenters.org. For residents of Napa, Yountville and American Canyon: call (707) 363-8390 or email efa@onthemovebayarea.org.

To apply for assistance because of the 2020 wildfires, call or email UpValley Family Centers at (707) 965-5010 or efa@upvalleyfamilycenters.org to schedule a phone appointment with a case manager. To download an application or learn more, please visit upvalleyfamilycenters.org. Staff at UpValley Family Centers is available to assist in completing an application in English or Spanish.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, please visit napavalleycf.org.

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