Residents of California’s 36th Congressional District who lost homes or businesses in the recent wildfires may be eligible for federal assistance.

The office of Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) is available to assist those affected by damage to homes or businesses with claims to the Small Business Administration.

Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has grants for disaster preparedness and prevention. Qualifying agencies and organizations may contact Ruiz’s office for more information.

“Our office is working tirelessly to ensure that our residents who were affected by the wildfires receive assistance in rebuilding and repair,” said Ruiz. “Please do not hesitate to contact us for help if your home or business was damaged in the recent fires.”

Contact Ruiz’s office at (760) 424-8888, or by e-mail at [email protected].


Help with new health options

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $21,931,657 in grant awards to 129 California health centers operating 1,221 sites to enroll the uninsured in new health coverage options the Affordable Care Act made available.

In California, health centers served 3,261,720 patients last year, 42 percent of whom were uninsured.

With these funds, the awardees expect to hire 411 more workers to assist 575,863 Californians with enrollment into affordable health insurance coverage.

Across the nation, 1,159 health centers will receive $150 million in grant awards.

“This investment will give California neighborhoods and towns one more resource to help people understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage,” HHS Secretary Sebelius said.

The new, consumer-focused and websites, and the 24-hour-a-day consumer call center are available to help Californians prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for health coverage.

These new tools will help Californians understand their coverage options and select the plan that best suits their needs when open enrollment in Covered California begins Oct. 1, 2013.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit

To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit