Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hundreds of Ventura County residents are still feeling the cost of the catastrophic floods in December

Over 650 cars were damaged or destroyed in the flash floods
Ventura County Community Foundation
Over 650 cars were damaged or destroyed in the flash floods

A local non-profit is stepping in, in the absence of getting assistance from FEMA.

The flash flooding in the morning of December 21st in Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Ventura impacted some of the most vulnerable residents – including seniors in low-income communities.

"Ultimately, what it really felt like for this area was like a tornado, which has just left significant destruction in its wake," said Vanessa Bechtel, the Executive Director of The Ventura County Community Foundation.

She says funds are desperately needed to help those affected, as qualifying for FEMA assistance has been unsuccessful because the threshold is at least 1200 destroyed structures.

Many vulnerable residents are still unable to return home
Ventura County Community Foundation
Many vulnerable residents are still unable to return home

"Community members find themselves without any support. We think about the impact, and we're talking about people unable to go home - many whose homes were just destroyed," said Bechtel.

Absent meeting that threshold and obtaining FEMA assistance, residents are left with just one option for help, she said - a low-interest disaster relief loan from the Small Business Administration. However, to qualify for a loan, you must be a U.S. Citizen and be capable of paying back the funds you have borrowed. Many of the areas impacted were home to low-income residents incapable of paying back a loan, as well as undocumented individuals who do not meet the eligibility requirements of the Small Business Administration, she explained.

100% of donations will be distributed to the community, said Bechtel.

There's more information on how to contribute on the VCCF website.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.