Governor Signs Assemblymember Gloria’s Disaster Assistance Bill to Protect Vulnerable Californians

Friday, October 6, 2017

Gloria Bill to Safeguard Low-Income, Elderly, and Disabled During and After States of Emergency to Become Law in 2018

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) that will protect California’s most vulnerable during and after declared states of emergency. AB 607, known as the Community Resiliency and Disaster Preparedness Act of 2017, takes steps to ensure that Californians who receive public assistance can continue to access their benefits both during and after declared states of emergencies.

The recent hurricanes that devastated the east coast as well as Puerto Rico and the Caribbean demonstrate why it is imperative for California to be prepared. This is especially true for our low-income, elderly, and disabled Californians who are in a more vulnerable position when disaster strikes,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “With AB 607 becoming law, we can make certain there is an appropriate government response when disasters occur and that our low-income individuals and families will not be subjected to increased hunger and hardship due to bureaucracy and failing to plan ahead. I want to thank Governor Brown for signing this bill and protecting our vulnerable Californians.”

AB 607 reduces bureaucratic red tape and rectifies a situation in current state law that could cause recipients of CalWORKs or CalFresh to lose their benefits as a result of being displaced from their home county due to a natural disaster. AB 607 also calls for a strong disaster response from government-administered programs to ensure California is prepared for disaster declarations at the county, state, and federal levels.

Additionally, AB 607:

  • Authorizes additional state funding for the planning and implementation of disaster assistance services for CALWORKs and CalFresh recipients should the Governor or President declare a disaster;
  • Directs the California Department of Social Services to create a Disaster Planning Advisory Committee to advise on the planning and implementation of disaster-related aide;
  • Requires county Health and Human Services Departments to collaborate with disaster response organizations to adopt planning strategies to identify and inform CALWORKs recipients of temporary housing options and benefits during times of natural disasters; and,
  • Requires state and county agencies to support remote application and issuance of disaster assistance benefits.

The full text of AB 607 can be found here. With the Governor’s signature, AB 607 will become law effective January 1, 2018.

AB 607 was co-sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the California Association of Food Banks, and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. AB 607 has earned the support of the Alameda County Community Food Bank, California Food Policy Advocates, the California Partnership, Feeding San Diego, Hunger Action Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and the United Way of California, among others.