Payments from the Wildfire Assistance Program (WAP) funded by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) have begun to be delivered to people displaced by the 2017 Northern California wildfires and 2018 Camp fire. The $105 million fund, approved by the judge in PG&E’s Chapter 11 cases, is intended to help those who are either uninsured or need assistance with alternative living expenses or other urgent needs. An independent third-party administrator, Cathy Yanni, is overseeing disbursement of funds to eligible participants.
“Payments to eligible individuals and households started last Friday. We worked quickly to establish and file the eligibility criteria with the court so we could begin reviewing applications as soon possible. We urge people displaced by the fires with unmet needs to apply, particularly those currently without adequate shelter,” said program administrator Cathy Yanni.
“We are committed to helping the victims and communities impacted by these wildfires recover and rebuild. Supporting them in their time of need is the right thing to do. We appreciate the work of the program administrator to ensure the funds get into the hands of those who need it most as quickly as possible,” said PG&E Corporation Chief Executive Officer and President Bill Johnson.
The deadline to file a claim is November 15, 2019. More information including the claim form is available at https://www.norcalwildfireassistanceprogram.com/. Final payments are expected to be made by the end of the First Quarter 2020. To date, approximately 4,500 claims have been filed. The administrator is actively reviewing claims and began sending payments on Friday, August 30
Applicants can request support for “Basic Unmet Needs,” which will provide each qualifying household with $5,000 for needs such as water, food, prescriptions, medical supplies and equipment, infant formula and diapers, personal hygiene items, and transportation fuels beyond what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) covered in the days immediately following the declared disasters.
Those who receive basic payments may also qualify for a “Supplemental Unmet Needs” payment. These funds will be available, however, only after all basic payments have been issued. The administrator has been empowered to approve supplemental payments for households which currently face extreme or extraordinary circumstances.
To qualify for the payments, applicants’ primary residence must have been within the boundary of either the 2017 Northern California wildfires and 2018 Camp fire at the time of those events. Applicants also must establish proof of identity and certify that they are not requesting payments for an expense already paid for by FEMA.
PG&E is providing $105 million for this fund from the company’s cash reserves and will not seek cost recovery from its customers.