Federal disaster officials met with county leaders Monday in order to better define how residents of landslide-ravaged La Conchita can extend their federal disaster-relief benefits.
At the request of several Ventura County officials, a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency toured the tiny beachside community north of Ventura to become more familiar with the disaster that destroyed several homes and forced officials to declare many others unsafe.
Just last Thursday, after another minor slide, officials slapped yellow tags on 11 additional homes in the area, declaring them unsafe.
During Monday's meeting, county officials asked how homeowners and residents can extend federal benefits in the face of the constantly moving hillside that abuts the town.
"We have a situation where some residents were getting caught between a rock and a hard place financially," said Curtis Updike, an aide to county Supervisor Maggie Kildee, who organized the meeting. "We wanted to meet with these officials to make sure there are avenues of appeal . . . the residents of La Conchita can follow" for additional funding.
FEMA spokeswoman Mary Donev said all recipients of federal disaster aid get a letter explaining the process with their initial check.
"We strongly urge them to carefully consider their situation and consider putting in an appeal for additional funds," Donev said.
Donev said with an appeal, even residents whose homes were not destroyed by the initial landslide on March 4 will make themselves eligible for disaster funds if their homes are damaged or destroyed later. Federal disaster benefits can be extended for up to 18 months, she said.
Donev said those La Conchita residents who wish to file an appeal may do so by calling the FEMA help line at (800) 525-0321.