Inside San Diego

Inside San Diego logo

News & information from the City of San Diego

From the Mayor's Desk

Here’s Everything Storm-Impacted San Diegans Need to Know About Applying for FEMA Support  

fema support

I have to confess to getting a little emotional when I got the call that President Biden approved a FEMA designation for San Diego. 

I’ve been on the ground in the impacted communities since the day the rain event occurred. I’ve had many conversations with residents and seen the devastation the storm caused. And, that’s what I’ve been relaying to our Governor, to our Members of Congress, and to the Vice President as we’ve tried to secure this: Our residents need this help and assistance. 

I’m extremely thankful that the Biden-Harris administration made this declaration, and to all of our partners at the local, state and federal level that helped make the case for this designation, including Governor Newsom, Senator Atkins and our local Congressional delegation.  

This really is an acknowledgement by the federal government that what we saw on Jan. 22 was a natural disaster – and that people here in San Diego deserve the kind of assistance that you see folks in the Midwest get after a tornado or in the southern coast like Florida get after a hurricane. 

But, most importantly for me as your Mayor: It means more of our residents are going to get help covering the expenses involved in rebuilding and restoring their homes and property damaged by the rain and flash flooding on January 22. 

City crews and staff have been on the ground since the afternoon after the storm helping deal with the devastation it left behind. City crews and contractors have collected and cleared over 5,500tons of debris, with City crews hauling away debris multiple times a day, delivering new bins to people whose household trash and recycling bins floated away, cleaning the mud and repairing damage to streets. 

We had staff and volunteers going door-to-door and at our Local Assistance Center providing information and resources for people impacted by the flooding. Our Housing Commission provided hotel rooms to hundreds of families and their pets while they await housing assistance. 

These federal resources are very welcome and will greatly support our efforts to help people get back on their feet. 

What the FEMA declaration does is provide financial assistance to residents for damage not covered by insurance, including:  

  • Hotel expense reimbursement for uninsured or underinsured applicants who can't return to their home due to disaster-related damage 

  • Home repair/replacement assistance for disaster losses not already covered by another source 

  • Rental assistance for alternative housing 

  • Personal property assistance to repair or replace essential, uninsured personal property damaged by severe storms and flooding 

  • Transportation Assistance for primary vehicles damaged by the disaster 

This assistance isn’t designed to make people whole, but rather to help them get back on their feet and start the rebuilding process. 

The application process is quick and easy and helps the agency evaluate eligibility and need, which often will include an in-person inspection along with records showing proof of ownership or occupancy in the storm-affected property. 

People can start applying now. Go to, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or download the FEMA App for information and to start your application. 

And please file any insurance claims immediately; FEMA will only cover what your insurance company won’t, so you need to show that you’ve filed a claim and either got denied or that it’s pending and you need to cover the gap while the claim is evaluated. 

Save all your receipts and records related to damage and expenses incurred from the disaster. They’ll need to be submitted.  

You can also visit a Disaster Recovery Center once they’re established here in San Diego to make sure you have everything in order. 

The FEMA registration deadline for San Diegans is April 19.