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Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez and Speaker-Designate Robert Rivas Highlight AB 513 – The California Individual Assistance Act

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D – Pomona) and Speaker-Designate Robert Rivas (D – Salinas) held a press conference highlighting AB 513, which would establish the California Individual Assistance Act. California does not currently have an individual assistance program. AB 513 would establish such to provide timely and direct assistance to families and individuals who would not be eligible for or may not warrant federal disaster assistance. 

“As Chair of the Emergency Management Committee, I think it is critical that our communities are equipped to respond and recover from natural disasters. Following the Pajaro River levee breach, I visited Monterey County to see the devastation and speak to community members. Hearing of the difficulty residents had recovering solidified the crucial need to establish an individual assistance program in California,” stated Assemblymember Rodriguez.

Too often, FEMA and Cal OES are unable to provide assistance to the most vulnerable communities where survivors have few paths to recovery. Suppose a local disaster does not meet the criteria for federal assistance. In that case, critical aid from FEMA will be out of reach for many families and individuals as California does not currently have a program to assist in place. 

Specifically, AB 513 would allow funds in the California Disaster Assistance Act to be used to provide financial assistance to local governments, community-based organizations, and individuals to repair disaster-related damages not covered by insurance or other assistance programs, losses in income not covered by insurance or other resources, and costs accrued by local agencies and community-based organizations from disaster response.

AB 513 also recognizes the capabilities of local governments and community-based organizations to deliver culturally competent emergency response and recovery services to displaced residents to ensure no family or individual is ever overlooked or forgotten about in the aftermath of a disaster.

“I am proud to be a co-author of AB 513,” said Speaker-Designate Robert Rivas. “I want to thank my great friend and colleague, Assemblymember Rodriguez, for introducing this important legislation. The recent storms, flooding, and damage across the state, including in my district in the Pajaro and Salinas Valleys, illustrate we need to provide more aid more quickly to protect residents and to help them recover from natural disasters. AB 513 unlocks a critical new tool for the state to use to assist communities that are devastated by major wildfires, flooding, and other disasters.”

Assemblymember Rodriguez (Twitter) represents the 53rd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, and Upland. He is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management.