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Residents of 3 more California counties can apply for federal disaster relief

A tree service worker on Jan. 10, 2023, in Santa Cruz uses a chain saw to dismantle a fallen redwood tree that floated down the flooded San Lorenzo River during recent flooding. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

Three more California counties have been added to President Joe Biden’s list of those eligible for disaster relief following this month’s rainstorms that inflicted untold damage and killed at least 20 people across the state.

Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties now join Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties under Biden’s major disaster declaration. That means residents of the six counties are now eligible for emergency assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for things like temporary housing or home repairs needed due to the storms.

“As communities across the state turn towards recovery, we will continue to work closely with our federal and local partners to support them,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement.

The expanded emergency declaration likely comes as welcome news to homeowners and business owners in affected counties, with some residents racking up thousands of dollars in repairs and lost income from the storms, which triggered flooding, mudslides and other damage.

The state also announced Wednesday morning that business owners can get their tax deadlines and penalties waived. Cities are also stepping up to support residents through small business grants.

More counties could be added to the list as officials assess the full scope of the damage.

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