Press release from the Humboldt County Office Emergency Services:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services has been informed that the reported damages related to the January 2024 flooding events did not meet the high federal requirements for individual or financial assistance, which may have provided various funding opportunities for services like home repairs.

Individuals who experienced flood damage to their home or business are strongly encouraged to work with their insurance provider(s) to file a claim for repairs if they have delayed doing so.


Federal disaster assistance is crucial to local communities like Humboldt County. When a natural disaster strikes and the damage exceeds the capabilities of the county or the state to respond, the state may ask the federal government to declare a disaster. A federal disaster declaration helps the impacted community qualify for federal aid programs, including funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). One critical disaster assistance program is FEMA’s Individual and Households Program (IHP), which provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals or households.

The threshold for a federal disaster declaration in California is approximately $74 million, or roughly 1,200 homes destroyed or with major damage. The state’s threshold is exceedingly high because of the high economic value of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area regions and of the state’s tech industry. As a result, small and/or rural communities throughout the state are unable to qualify for federal assistance and are deprived of an equitable opportunity for disaster recovery. Until regulatory changes are made in Washington DC, this critical assistance remains out of reach for rural communities like Humboldt County.

Additionally, certain criteria must also be met in order to qualify for low-interest federal disaster loans like loans provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). To meet the one threshold to qualify for an SBA federal disaster assistance loan, at least 25 homes or 25 businesses, or a combination of at least 25 homes, businesses or other eligible properties, each must sustain uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of the estimated fair replacement value or pre-disaster fair market value of the damaged property, whichever is lower. Humboldt County’s reported damages related to the January 2024 floods did not qualify the county for federal loan assistance.

Be Prepared

The Office of Emergency Services encourages residents to work with an insurance provider to obtain homeowners or renters insurance if you do not have them. Insuring your home, business or property is the best way to make sure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged in the event of a natural disaster.

If you have insurance is important to review your policy to make sure the amount and types of coverage you have meets the requirements for all possible hazards. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover all types of disasters, so you may need to purchase insurance from another provider. For more tips on how to prepare your finances for natural disasters, please visit

For more information or to find the latest updates from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, please go to and visit @HumCoOES on Facebook and Twitter.