Skip to content

How cutting FEMA aid could impact California families

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

1/10/2019 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (

President Donald Trump has threatened to stop sending federal money to the state of California for wildfire recovery, a move that Catholic aid workers say could dramatically impact thousands of California families trying to rebuild their lives.


Catholic Online (
1/10/2019 (5 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: cutting FEMA, California families, catholic news

Washington D.C., (CNA) - "Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen," Trump wrote in a tweet Wednesday.

"Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to send no more money."

The fire season in California in 2018 was the state's worst on record, with thousands of structures destroyed and nearly 90 lives lost. An unusually dry autumn contributed to the severity of the fire season.

About 6,650 people in California have successfully applied for FEMA assistance to the tune of nearly $50 million in aid, according to the latest available numbers from FEMA. That assistance can be used for essential home repairs and other necessities not covered by insurance.

It's not yet clear whether Trump has the legal authority to order FEMA directly to cut funding for California, but the Sacramento Bee reports that the president does have to power to refuse to declare a state of disaster in California during or after future fires.

The Washington Post reportedly reached out to FEMA for comment, but received only an automated reply saying the agency is unable to respond to general press inquiries due to the partial government shutdown. The agency has said that individuals can still apply for aid while the government is shut down.

California's newly-elected governor has called on the Trump administration to double federal funding to manage the state's forests.

Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the Diocese of Sacramento, told CNA that though he suspects the president's words were a political message directed at California's new governor, the impact of defunding FEMA completely could be devastating.

"It's sad that whatever politics are involved here are being directed at these families that really need our care, concern, and our help in order to rebuild," Eckery told CNA.  

"You take an emergency that affects thousands and thousands of families in northern California, billions of dollars in property damage, that began on federal land with the possible involvement of a public utility, and then try and say, 'No, this is all about California forest management processes' ...I'm kind of dumbfounded," he said.

"In terms of toying with people's livelihoods and their concern about rebuilding, it becomes even more strange when you realize that this is a community that is probably one of the few places in California where a majority of voters supported President Trump."

Eckery explained that in the case of a natural disaster, for the most part the state has the primary responsibility for operations along with their partners in local government. FEMA can then underwrite grants and low-interest loans to help provide aid from outside the state; for example, if a state needs large amounts of concrete for levies, not all of which can be sourced in-state.

If Trump were actually to carry out his threat to defund FEMA, thousands of families trying to rebuild that would be affected, he warned.  

The Sacramento diocese is making schooling available for free for 30-40 students affected by the fire, Eckery said, and Catholic Charities is engaged in case management to match families with resources so they can do their own rebuilding.

"We've moved from the emergency stage to the recovery stage," he said.  

"People need to understand that even though the Camp Fire is out of the day-to-day headlines, it still burned down a community of 35,000 people. And so that is a lot of hurt, and those people need and deserve our help."

Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa, whose district includes much of northeastern California, wrote in a press release that he expects the president to keep his promise to help victims of the fires.

"Although I share the President's great frustration with California's choking regulations from the stranglehold environmental groups have on the state, as well as the inaction on federal lands up until this Administration...threats to FEMA funding are not helpful and will not solve the longer term forest management regulatory problems," he wrote. 
"These are American citizens who require our help."


More U.S.

Mom, target of doxing state rep, calls for Sims' censure Watch

Image of

State Rep. Brian Sims is facing possible censure in the Pennsylvania legislature following his harassment and attempts to dox women and ... continue reading

Supreme Court gives second chance to Oregon cake bakers who declined same-sex wedding Watch

Image of

An Oregon bakery whose owners declined to make a cake celebrating a same-sex commitment ceremony will get another chance in court, after ... continue reading

Analysis: How will the USCCB vote in first elections since McCarrick scandal? Watch

Image of

While the spring meeting of the U.S. bishops' conference has only just concluded, some bishops are already looking to the election of new ... continue reading

Forum forms women in leadership, dignity, faith Watch

Image of

The 2019 GIVEN Catholic Young Women's Leadership Forum, which met last week, convened more than 100 professional Catholic women in ... continue reading

Pro-life groups laud Pampers move to place changing tables in men's restrooms Watch

Image of

 Pro-life groups are cheering an initiative from Pampers which is seeking to place 5,000 diaper changing tables in men's restrooms ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.