The Travel Forecast

August 26, 2020

Lodging Properties Encouraged to Enroll in FEMA’s Temporary Shelter Assistance Program

As part of FEMA’s Disaster Assistance Improvement Program, temporary shelter assistance is made available to displaced residents of the CZU August Lightning Fire. The Temporary Shelter Assistance (TSA) program helps those who have been evacuated and do not have financial resources available to them. Lodging providers are encouraged to participate in this program.  Here is what you need to know:

In order to participate in the TSA program, lodging providers must register directly with Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC), FEMA’s vendor for the TSA program. To be eligible for the program, lodging providers must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Internet connectivity: Enables real-time access to CLC’s ELA database to check applicant TSA eligibility, log check-in/checkout data, and submit billing.
  • Safety & Security: The lodging provider must maintain a secure environment for TSA guests. The lodging provider must be in compliance with all local health and safety inspections/requirements, as well as the fire safety requirements of the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990, as amended (see 5 U.S.C. 5707a).
  • Privacy: The lodging provider must provide the TSA guest a room capable of locking, with a private, non-communal bathroom. The lodging provider controls access to keys for issuing to guests.
  • Staffing: The property must employ necessary support staff to fulfill standard lodging industry roles (e.g., housekeeping, security, front desk, management, etc.) o Front Desk – The lodging provider must have a physical desk with staff available 24/7, capable of checking guests into the ELA program and obtaining necessary documentation (signed TSA Terms & Conditions and copy of Photo ID) for the guests. They should also be available for phone calls regarding availability, reservations, and emergency needs or property issues. Management – Access to hotel management 24/7.

For additional information and for lodging providers to register, click here.

Local Hotels Housing Fire Evacuees

As a service to local Santa Cruz area residents displaced by the fires, Visit Santa Cruz County has collected information on nearly 60 local properties as well as lodging in the San Jose area, Morro Bay, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Newark, and other regional destinations which are offering fire evacuees discounted hotel rates. The story is gaining steam in the press, with the San Jose Mercury News including Laura Waltz from the Beach Street Inn & Suites in the latest feature story on the subject. 

With approximately 77,000 people evacuated since last week – almost 60 percent of those in Santa Cruz County – local lodging properties have stepped up to offer discounted rates until more permanent housing can be found. The County of Santa Cruz has asked that visitors occupying local overnight accommodations such as hotels, motels, and vacation rentals depart the County immediately in order to free up shelter capacity. But even combined with the county’s request that visitors refrain from travel to Santa Cruz County through September 1, the strain on local lodging properties is enormous. This cooperative effort from neighboring destinations is a tribute to the spirit of hospitality itself, as we work together to provide relief to those affected by the fires.

SBA Loans Available for Small Businesses and Homeowners Due to the CZU Lightning Fire

Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available from the US Small Business Association to California businesses and residents as a result of the President’s major disaster declaration, it was announced this week. The US SBA declaration covers Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties as a result of the wildfires that began on Aug. 14, 2020.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Homeowners are also eligible.

SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent, or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future. 

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 3 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.188 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

To apply, survivors must first contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications here. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 916.735.1500 or email for more information

CZU August Lightning Complex Fire Info Page

VSCC has established a CZU August Lightning Complex Fire page to provide the community and stakeholders with the latest information. Updated at least once a day with information from CalFire, the County of Santa Cruz, VSCC partners, and other agencies, this helpful site shows what you need to know about the current situation.

Currently, 79,640 acres have burned in the San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, with containment at 19 percent. 

Damage Map Available

The Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center has released a map of properties damaged in the CZU Lighting Complex Fires provided by Cal Fire.  Assessment teams are being deployed to the fire zone, and residents may not return to evacuated areas until they are cleared by public safety officials. This link provides access to the map, and other resources to help residents initiate the recovery process, including behavioral health resources for those who need assistance coping with loss.

FEMA Assistance Available

FEMA’s Disaster Assistance Improvement Program announced that aid is available for those affected by the fires in California. FEMA can provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance. Call 800.621.3362 to begin the process of receiving disaster aid from FEMA or download the FEMA app via Google Play or the Apple App Store, or text 43362 (4FEMA) on an Android or iPhone.

CZU Fire Hospitality Heroes

The Picnic Basket, Snap Taco, Soif, and Mutari are providing meals to evacuees, firefighters, and first responders. Venus Spirits’ new restaurant on Santa Cruz’s westside will have $7 to-go meals available for evacuees and will add a pay-it-forward item to their “dine-in” menu. The animals at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center have been relocated away from the path of the fires, thanks to community support and that of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   

And the Watsonville Municipal Airport activated its “Emergency Aerial Support Action Plan” (E-ASAP) with seven helicopter aircraft and support crews and an area north of runway Two-Seven dedicated to supporting aircraft, personnel and equipment, including mobile fuelers and support vehicles to assist CalFire efforts! #santacruzstrong


Did you see……this article from the Associated Press, which brought a ray of hope and was shared far and wide on social media channels when it was discovered that both the Father and Mother of the Forest at Big Basin Redwoods State Park survived the fire? 

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