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County of Monterey unveils application numbers from the Unmet Needs Resource Program

PAJARO, Calif. (KION-TV)- UPDATE ON APRIL 10, 2024 AT 1:20 PM- The County of Monterey provided new information on how many applications they have seen in the Unmet Needs Resource Program.

County officials is reporting that more than 600 families have applied for help after the flooding that took place in March 2023.

The County also unveiled that at least 30 businesses have applied for assistance.

"The waiting line is nothing now we have been the first week was extremely busy and you know the numbers are definitely getting more balanced out," Mindy Esqueda who is with the County of Monterey Office of Emergency Management said.

The first phase allows households to receive $200 through $600 to replace food items.

"Hopefully within two to three weeks we can start that phase assistance with the groceries and food assistance," Esqueda said.

The second phase could require people to work with a disaster case manager but there are still weeks away from it.

The phase could require people to work with a disaster case manager but there still weeks away from it.

"We're working as fast as we can get through these applications process all that and provide the assistance that everyone really needs," Esqueda said

County officials said it is too early to tell if they are seeing a low turnout for applicants.

The deadline is April 27.

People and local businesses express hope as Assistance Center opens in Pajaro

UPDATE ON MARCH 27, 2024 AT 10:45 AM- A new disaster recovery center officially opened on Wednesday to help people and small businesses who were affected by the Pajaro floods in 2023.

Teresa Chavez whose home was covered in mud last year says things have gotten better.

"We're barely getting situated in our house," Chavez said. "I feel more calm now but we did lose our home for two months and I did not work for a while because I worked here in Pajaro.

Chavez's friend, Valeria Cuevas expressed hope when she came to the center at Pajaro Park.

"With so much sacrifice we bought everything and next thing you know you have to throw away beds and everything else," Cuevas said. "We just hope we can get help from this program."

County officials are focused on helping out families and individuals.

"In phase 1, we will basically there is a gift card for groceries that we will be distributing for families that were evacuated and were living here before March 2023," Mindy Esqueda who is the emergency services planner for the County's Department of Emergency Management said. "The second phase will deal with families or individuals who suffered losses or personal property."

Families who are the second phase will be working with case managers according to Esqueda.

People who are eligible can get up to $15,000 depending on if they qualify.

The grocery gift cards vary from $200 to $600 depending on the family size.

Local businesses can get up to $85,000 for damage and $15,000 for beautification. Businesses owners who work operate from home can get up to $5,000.

In order to apply for the program, you will have to bring a photo identification and proof of address.

County officials said that local businesses will need to bring their tax returns and all of their receipts to get their reimbursements.

They can also phase a quote from a licensed contractor as well. The center will be open until April 27.

For more information on the program, click here.

Pajaro Assistance Center to open on March 27 at Pajaro Park

UPDATE ON MARCH 25, 2024 AT 12:13 PM- The County of Monterey announced that the Pajaro Assistance Center will open starting on Wednesday morning.

The assistance center will be located at Pajaro Park and the center will be open starting at 10 a.m.

County officials said the center will be open until April 27 for people and small businesses who still need assistance from 2023 floods in Pajaro.

The center will be open during the following days. County officials said the center will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Thursdays and Fridays: 2 p.m.-7 p.m.

Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The money from the County of Monterey's Unmet Needs Program which comes from the state.

Staff from Community Bridges and Catholic Charities will be running the assistance center. There are different application guidelines for people and small businesses.

Resident Application Guidelines

  • Assistance will be done in two phases including help for lost or spoiled food that took place during the flooding and evacuations.
  • The second phase is for anyone who needs housing assistance, vehicle replacement, home repair or loss of personal property. The applications will need to be done in person you'll need to bring proof of identity and show you were living in Pajaro at the time of the flooding.

Business Application Guidelines

Local businesses who suffered damage during the floods must show they live within a 20 mile radius of Pajaro and have documents showing loss during the flooding.

You can find the business application here.

County officials posted YouTube videos that will take you through the application process.

For the English version watch here.

For the Spanish version watch here.

Original Story

Help is on the way for people and business in Pajaro.

The County of Monterey shares two separate programs designed to help not just businesses, but the people dealing with the aftermath of last year's flooding.

Driving around Pajaro you can't help but notice a variety of businesses on Salinas Road.

It may not look like it now, but many of these businesses suffered damage as a result of the flooding around this time last year.

One of those businesses, La Tiendita Market is still recovering.

"We had to borrow money to continue where we are now. To continue buying items for the store, we had to struggle a lot," said Estebanez, manager of La Tiendita Market.

The county now stepping in to help people and businesses with emergency assistance programs.
On the business side of it, the county says there are $3.7 million allocated to businesses.

Each business can get up to 85 thousand dollars for damage and 15 thousand dollars for beautification…
Owners can provide tax returns, credit statements, and other documents as requested.

"We understand that there may be a lot of instances where applicants aren't able to provide the exact document that we're looking for," said Vanessa Kor, Monterey County Workforce Development. "But we still encourage applicants to apply, and then we want to work with each one on one to be able to identify what alternative, documents could be submitted,"

To help out people, the county says they'll assist in two phases.

  • Phase 1 is to hand out gift cards to replace food items lost.
  • Phase 2 is to help replace lost or damaged items and property.

"We have case managers are going to be a working with each family case by case a drop in their process," said Mindy Esqueda, who works for the County of Monterey's Department of Emergency Management.

County officials say if there is money left over on either the business or people side, the decision will go to the board of supervisors on how to spend it.

The county says case managers will be at Pajaro Park from March 27th through April 27th.

The county wants people in Pajaro to know they can make appointments with case managers to speed up the process.

Video of the meeting can be found here.

The County of Monterey says the website for applications will go live March 25th.

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Dania Romero

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