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County Administrator's Office

For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors approves contract for distribution of emergency financial assistance during disasters

SANTA ROSA, CA | February 27, 2024

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted today to approve contracts with Community Organizations Active in Disasters and the Child Parent Institute for the distribution of disaster emergency financial assistance to individuals during declared emergencies. 

“Emergency events are unpredictable, so having a system in place can mitigate a lot of foreseeable situations,” said Supervisor David Rabbitt, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “This proposal ensures that, when needed, we are prepared to assist those who are impacted in a timely and efficient manner. We want to be sure that we lay a solid foundation and prepare as best we can to provide the financial relief certain segments of our community need during an emergency.” 

The Board of Supervisors delegated authority to the director of the county’s Human Services Department to enter into contracts with COAD and CPI for the distribution of up to $550,000 per organization in disaster emergency financial assistance. The director also was given authority to amend the amount to a total of $2 million should state or federal funds be made available. The contracts with the two community-based organizations expire on Dec. 31, 2027. 

Under the plan approved today, following a qualified emergency event, activation of the Emergency Operations Center, or an emergency declaration by the Board of Supervisors, the two organizations will begin to do eligibility assessments within the first 72 hours after being notified to administer disaster emergency financial assistance. Individuals impacted by emergency events, if eligible, can receive a minimum of $500, and a maximum of $2,000. 

Eligibility for funding will be based on an initial screening to determine the extent to which the community member was impacted by the event. The individual applying must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of Sonoma County
  • Been forced to evacuate
  • Have housing that was damaged or destroyed in the disaster 
  • Be unable to work due to the disaster. 

In addition to the criteria above, applicants must also be income-eligible, meaning their household has to make 60 percent or below the area medium income or be currently enrolled in other government programs such as Medicaid, Cal-Fresh, SNAP, or Social Security. A family of four would need an annual income of $75,480 or less to be at 60 percent of medium income. 

Once the first two steps have been completed, a point system survey consisting of 11 questions will be conducted to determine the need and amount the individual will receive. Individuals will then be placed in brackets based on need and receive emergency funding from the community-based organization that assisted them. 

A Universal Disaster Intake Process, UDIP, will be utilized by the organizations to coordinate the distribution process. This includes keeping track of who was assessed, their aid eligibility, where they went for help and how much aid they received. The process will also be used to provide an after-action report after the emergency event has concluded or disbursement of all available funds. 

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors provided a total of $812,853 from the immediate fund to provide financial assistance to more than 1,700 individuals following the winter storms in January 2023. Funds were distributed in the range of $250 to $800. The funds were used to keep individuals, from more than 30 different zip codes around Sonoma County, housed, mitigate wage loss, prevent food insecurity and assist with paying for alternative housing for those who needed evacuations.

The action and funding help meet objectives outlined in the Racial Equity and Social Justice pillar of the county’s five-year Strategic Plan.

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Media Contact:
Gilbert Martinez, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403