Obama signs disaster declaration for SLO County because of storms

President Barack Obama has issued a major disaster declaration for 10 counties, including San Luis Obispo County, allowing them to apply for federal money to repair or replace facilities affected by flooding, mud and debris from the heavy December storms.

The following counties are eligible for federal aid: Inyo, Kern, Kings, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Tulare.

However, the disaster declaration does not include assistance to individuals or businesses — only for public agencies and certain nonprofit organizations to recover costs related to the storms, said Ron Alsop, county emergency services manager.

Officials with the county Office of Emergency Services are still waiting to hear if low-interest loans may be offered by the Small Business Administration for businesses, homeowners, renters or personal-property owners to assist with home repairs and lost property because of the storms.

All California counties are also eligible to apply for grants to help county governments plan for and prevent damage from future natural hazards, according to a news release from Rep. Lois Capps’ office.