County to end temporary lodging program for flood victims

FEMA rental assistance available for residents who apply
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 20:37:09-04

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — Argelia Cobarrubias has been living in a hotel room with her family for months.

But Cobarrubias said she’s been told she can only stay at the Ramada Inn until April 15th.

Flood waters destroyed her mobile home back in January. She and hundreds of other residents have been living in hotels paid for by a temporary county program, which is ending on May 11th.

On Tuesday, the county will start sending letters to flood victims to let them know about the change and how much longer they can stay at the temporary accommodations they’ve been living in.

Cobarrubias said her home isn’t livable.

“We don't have a bathroom. We don't have a kitchen, like nothing. So, if we do go back home, I mean, we can't shower. We can't go to the bathroom. We would have to be using like a neighbor's (restroom).

A FEMA official said federal rental assistance is available to San Diego flood victims in two-month increments. But residents need to apply for the aid.

The county said more than 400 people in its temporary hotel voucher program haven’t applied for the federal help.

County workers will soon start asking some residents who haven’t proven their homes flooded to leave the hotels they’ve been living in before May 11th.

People who have violated a code of conduct will be given seven days to leave.

The FEMA money that’s available to flood victims will be sent via direct deposit or check. Residents are being told to keep receipts and are warned if they don’t use the funding properly, they could have to pay it back and be cut off.

Cobarrubias said her family has gotten some help from FEMA, but she wasn’t aware of the rental assistance.

She said no one from the agency contacted her. She is grateful for the help she’s received so far but said it won’t cover the costly repairs to fix her childhood home.

“We had an inspector go and he said about it's like 90 to 120 grand to just fix (one) side of the house, so we don't know where we're going to take that money out of.”