The U.S. government is awarding over $212 million worth of a disaster recovery grant to California for its housing, infrastructure and economic development needs after Northern California wildfires ravaged over 8,000 homes and businesses.
The grant comes a day after the six-month anniversary of the firestorm that destroyed entire neighborhoods in Napa and Sonoma counties.
“It’s clear that a number of states and local communities are still struggling to recover from a variety of natural disasters that occurred in the past three years,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a release.
“These grants will help rebuild communities impacted by past disasters and will also protect them from major disasters in the future.”
Many residents are still dealing with the consequences of the fires with their insurance company and one Napa County resident said "even though it's been six months, it’s still a little fresh."
"I can’t hear wind or smell smoke without everything coming back," Linda Savoie said.
Sen. Bill Dodd who oversees the Napa and Sonoma County affected by the wildfires told NBC Bay Area that the grant is "a meaningful and important step toward recovery."
"We’re very thankful for the federal support and to key members of Congress, including Reps. Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman, for helping to secure it," Sen. Dodd said.
The grant to California is part of larger disaster recovery grants of $185 billion to disaster areas across the U.S. including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The funds covering last year's disasters include $4.7 billion for the state of Texas, $212 million for California, $707 million for Florida and $1.6 billion for the Virgin Islands.
Others receiving grants are the states of Louisiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina. Local governments in several of those states were also awarded the grants, including Houston in connection with flooding in 2015.