Cheri Carlson | Ventura County Star

Ventura County residents became eligible for disaster relief this week after January storms destroyed five local homes and damaged dozens of others.

Late Wednesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency added Ventura to a list of counties included in President Biden’s major disaster declaration in California, officials said. That prompts the release of federal funds to help residents whose homes and businesses were damaged by flooding or mud and debris flows.

Five homes in the county were destroyed and 11 others sustained major damage when storms on Jan. 9-10 drenched the region, filling rivers and creeks, flooding roads, toppling trees and triggering debris flows.

More than 100 other properties had less significant flooding indoors or sustained damage to yards, outbuildings and other areas, according to the county Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services.

FEMA views major damage as 18 inches or more of flooding or mudflows into a home, OES Director Patrick Maynard said. Even damage classified as “minor” may include more than a foot of water or mud inside a house.

In recent weeks, OES personnel worked with state and federal teams to assess local damage, providing regular updates and information on hard-hit communities.

Many local residents were uninsured or underinsured for the storm damage, Maynard said. Unless homeowners have flood insurance, their policies typically do not cover the damage.

FEMA’s individual assistance program, however, may help with costs that include temporary rental and lodging expenses, home repairs, clean up and personal property losses. More information is available at and

On Wednesday, Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, and Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, applauded the FEMA approval. Both worked with county, state and federal officials in the weeks since the storms hit the area.

This story was originally published by the Ventura County Star on February, 2 2023.

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