Los Angeles Rallies Support for Swift Storm Recovery


In the wake of the powerful atmospheric river storms that deluged the Los Angeles area with up to 14 inches of rain last week, swift recovery efforts are underway to support the affected homeowners and businesses. Local building and safety Inspectors are diligently surveying homes, while the Bureau of Engineering is working to restore stability to the compromised hillsides.

            “As we begin the recovery process, Los Angeles County is here to support the renters, homeowners, and businesses impacted by the storm,” said Lindsey P. Horvath, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “No one is alone in navigating this process, and the County is here to help ensure our communities are connected to the resources they need. We came together to stay safe, and we’ll do the same through our recovery process.”

            The initial step towards recovery is for residents and businesses to complete a damage collection survey, which assesses the extent of storm-inflicted damage. The survey, which is available at, will assist the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in collecting information crucial to determining eligibility for disaster assistance programs. Although such programs are not guaranteed, they encourage continued engagement with insurance providers while the county gathers necessary details.

            The City of Los Angeles offers a Virtual Local Assistance Center that gives residents access to imperative resources and assistance for disaster recovery and is intended to guide residents through the recovery process, regardless of the size of the loss. Furthermore, FEMA suggests documenting all losses extensively as they may offer financial help and services for approved disaster-related damage.

            Assistance can include temporary housing, repair funds for primary residences, money for specific hazard mitigation measures, moving and storage, damage to an essential vehicle, disaster-related child-care expenses as well as essential household items and clothing.

            FEMA does not offer housing assistance for secondary homes.  Nor do they assist small businesses impacted by a disaster. Instead, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest loans for business damage.

            Keep in mind that tax relief is also available. By filing a claim for Misfortune & Calamity relief within one year of the incident, properties that have sustained a minimum of $10,000 in damage or destroyed may be eligible for a refund of taxes already paid and lower annual tax bills until the property is repaired or rebuilt.

            This property tax relief is available to owners of homes, business equipment, and fixtures, orchards, or other agricultural groves, and to owners of aircraft, boats, and certain manufactured homes. It is not available to properties that are not assessable, such as state-licensed manufactured homes or household furnishings.

            The claim has to be filed within 12 months of the event. The savings can be for a total loss of the property or a percentage of the damage as long as it’s $10,000 or more. The percentage is calculated by the appraiser using a standard formula, oftentimes in conjunction with other factors such as existing insurance.

            Upon approval, the assessed valuation of your property will be adjusted downward to reflect the condition post-damage. This adjusted value remains effective from the date of damage occurrence until either the structures are fully repaired or rebuilt, there is a change in ownership, or there is a transfer of base year value. To apply for this reassessment, you need to submit the Misfortune or Calamity (M&C) claim forms, formally known as the “Application for Reassessment: Property Damaged or Destroyed by Misfortune or Calamity.” These forms are accessible online at Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office or you can request them by calling (213) 974-8658.

Listed below are some other helpful tips:

  • Mitigate Mold Growth: After a flood, the lingering presence of mud, silt, and harmful contaminants can create ideal conditions for mold proliferation. To minimize these risks and prevent additional damage, it’s imperative to ensure your property is thoroughly dried with safety as the priority.
  • Restoring Essential Services: If impacted by the storm, it’s crucial to have utilities inspected and safely reinstated by accredited professionals without delay.
  • Disinfect affected areas: Clean and disinfect every affected area of your home and belongings that have been in contact with floodwaters. When in doubt, prioritize safety over salvage—discard items to avoid the dangers of injury or infection. Any food items—including those unopened—contaminated by floodwaters should be discarded.
  • Due Diligence: Exercise patience and due diligence before entering into agreements. Seek estimates and professional opinions exclusively from well-established and reputable entities that are forthcoming with valid credentials, comprehensive training, and verifiable insurance. Always request and evaluate multiple references in addition to scrutinizing their past work.
  • Prepare: To safeguard against future flood events, it’s wise to invest in flood insurance and maintain an up-to-date home inventory. Residents near hillsides and potential mudslides should consider seeking advice from geotechnical experts for guidance on diminishing landslide risk.
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