Local Debris Disposal and Recycling Guide

Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest loans to individuals, including uninsured renters, who suffer damage to natural disasters. The low-interest loans are also available to homeowners, businesses and private nonprofit organizations that suffered property damage. Small businesses may also be eligible for loans related to economic losses. Loan applications are free. For more information, call 1-800-659-2955 or go to www.sba.gov/disaster.

In addition, the following organizations and government agencies provide assistance, resources and information to help those affected by disasters:

Beware of Scams and Price Gouging

In a news release, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office warned residents of scams following disasters, such as the May 2014 fires. Below is an excerpt with important tips to keep in mind.

There are individuals who will offer to remove debris from your property, asking for significant deposits and then disappearing with your money. Sometimes, they move debris but dump it on a neighbor’s property, park or playground. You may be responsible for the costs of removal and any penalties attached. Be sure you know where the debris is being taken and provide payment only after the job is completed.

After the Governor declares a state of emergency, it is illegal for businesses to increase prices of essential goods and services by more than ten percent unless they can prove it was due to an increase in their supplier’s price. The prohibition on price gouging after a disaster applies to consumer food and services, goods or services used for emergency cleanup, supplies, medical supplies, home heating oil, building materials, housing, transportation, freight and storage services, and gasoline or other motor fuels. In addition, it is a misdemeanor during 30 days following the state of emergency proclamation for a hotel or motel to increase regular rates. You can report price gouging to the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit at (619) 531-4070.

During and after a disaster, it is common to hear pleas for donations. A charitable scam occurs when donations to what is believed to be a worthy charitable cause ends up in a scam artist’s pocket. Many bogus charities have names that sound similar to long established charities. Do not be fooled. We all want to help. Give to charities you are familiar with that work in disaster assistance. Beware of telephone solicitors who are unwilling to give their name and call back.