Pajaro Valley Flood

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Community Bridges' Pajaro Valley Flood Recovery Plan

Pajaro Valley residents whose homes, apartments, and property have been damaged by the March 11th floods may be eligible for local financial assistance through Community Bridges and other participating nonprofits.

Community Bridges has teamed up with the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Community Foundation for Monterey County, Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc., Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, and Monarch Services to distribute economic assistance to flood-impacted families.

There will be three waves of assistance available to Pajaro families with grants starting at $500. 

This local financial assistance will heavily rely on donations. To support, donate to Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Community Foundation for Monterey County, or to Community Bridges to help Pajaro residents with their immediate needs and their long-term recovery.

Donate to Community Foundation Santa Cruz County by clicking HERE

Donate to Community Foundation for Monterey County by clicking HERE.

Donate to support Community Bridges’ storm response by clicking HERE.


The first wave is underway and is expected to wrap up by mid-May. In this wave applicants may receive a $500 grant if:

  • Their home or property was damaged during the flood
  • They have NOT already received a $500 grant from the participating community partners
  • They have completed our Damage Assessment Form

People are now encouraged to visit La Manzana Community Resources at 521 Main Street, Suite Y in downtown Watsonville to apply in person. La Manzana is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4:30pm. 

If you have been denied, but feel there has been an error, please visit La Manzana for assistance.


The second wave is began in mid-May. People who completed the Damage Assessment Form and received assistance during the first wave do NOT need to reapply to receive assistance in the second wave. Community Bridges staff will contact you to set up an appointment.

In this wave, grants will range between $1,000-2,000 and be made available as donations and government assistance allow. In this wave applicants may receive a grant if they can:

  • Show proof of damages/lost wages
  • Show proof of address (lease, paystub, utility bill, license, school documents)
  • Show proof that they have applied for federal assistance and insurance claims (if they qualify and is available)
  • Fall at or below 80% of Area Median Income


The third wave will be for extreme cases assisted by case managers through Community Bridges and Catholic Charities. This wave will begin in tandem with the second wave, as families and individuals who need additional support will be assisted by a long-term recovery group.

There is no range for grant funding as money will be distributed as needed to help with the following:

  • Permitting costs
  • Building materials
  • Contractors
  • Insurance deductible
  • Loss of tools of trade, including transportation
  • Potential loss of home, gentrification or displacement
  • Insurance coverage stop gap support for vehicles and homes



How are you distributing the economic assistance grants? We are distributing grants to people who have filled out our Damage Assessment Form. Staff from our Family Resource Collective contacts these applicants and sets up distribution appointments at La Manzana Community Resources in downtown Watsonville. 

How are you prioritizing the economic assistance grants? Community Bridges is prioritizing grants for families, people living at or below 80% of the area median income, and people whose residences have sustained major damage and are yellow, orange, or red tagged, according to the County of Monterey’s Damage Assessment Map

How much economic assistance have you distributed to Pajaro residents? Since the Pajaro River levee broke on March 11, Community Bridges has distributed more than $1.1 million in direct economic assistance as of July 20.  Including the winter storms, Community Bridges has helped distribute more than $1.7 million to Pajaro Valley and Santa Cruz County residents.  

Why not distribute the economic assistance grants door-to-door? Community Bridges does not have the capability or number of staff needed to distribute grants door-to-door. The process requires access to the Internet and Community Bridges’ internal database of applicants. In addition, during a distribution appointment, our FRC staff can also connect applicants with other local, state, and federal assistance available to Pajaro residents.


Community Bridges has received a substantial number of donations to assist the recovery in Pajaro. Where are those donations? As of May 1, Community Bridges has received more than $500,000 in donations from more than 1,600 individuals, businesses, and groups. We are now using these donations to fund our second and third wave of assistance. We have also begun to distribute some of these dollars to community groups serving Pajaro residents such as Casa De La Cultura and the Center for Farmworker Families.

Is Community Bridges taking an administrative fee from these donations? Thanks to our amazing foundation partners across the Central Coast who have committed to funding our mounting emergency response and long-term case management costs, Community Bridges can say that every dollar that has come into our Pajaro Valley Flood Relief fund will be used for direct assistance to Pajaro residents. We hope to announce key foundation partners in the coming weeks.

How can we remain informed about the donations that are being made to Community Bridges? We are providing recurring updates on donations via our social media and regular updates via our newsletter. Follow or like us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter for continued updates.

How can we make suggestions about how and where your donations can be spent and used? You can contact Community Bridges with suggestions via email at info@cbridges.org.

Pajaro Long-Term Recovery Center opens

Community Bridges in partnership with Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey have teamed up to open a satellite resource center in Pájaro to assist and ensure that we continue to provide direct client disaster services for families recovering from the devastating Pájaro Valley floods.  

The 580-square-foot office at 14 Porter Drive will fulfill the functions of the Long-Term Case Management work needed to help the dozens of Pájaro families who are unable to return home or find new, habitable housing because of the spring storms. 

Family Resource Collective staff will be on site every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9am to 4:30pm (closed for lunch between noon and 1pm) to support the diligent work of our partner organizations assisting in the recovery and help Pájaro families access assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state, county, and local programs.  

For more information, click HERE.

Other FINANCIAL assistance

Federal Assistance


The Federal Emergency Management Agency offered assistance for families impacted by the March 11 flood. The deadline to apply for individual assistance was extended to Sept. 1. People who need help with their applications or appeals can visit:

  • In-person

    • Pajaro Park: 24 San Juan Road, Pajaro. Open Monday through Saturday from 9am-7pm 

    • La Manzana: 521 Main Street, Suite Y, Watsonville. Open Monday-Friday, 9am-4:30pm

    • Santa Cruz County Building: 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz. Open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm

  • Online: disasterassistance.gov

  • Phone: 800-621-3362

FEMA Individual and Household Assistance may include:

State Assistance

Storm Assistance for Immigrants

In response to the series of storms across California in December 2022 through April 2023, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is providing state-funded storm recovery services to provide disaster relief case management and direct assistance to eligible individuals who experienced hardship from the storms and cannot access federal assistance due to immigration status.

Direct assistance payments will be provided for the purpose of helping storm-impacted individuals and households cover certain necessary costs including housing, food, and transportation costs.

Qualifying adults will receive $1,500 and children (under 18 years old) will receive $500, with a maximum of $4,500 per household. A household is defined as individuals who live and purchase and prepare meals together.

Storm recovery services are available in California counties where the President has issued a Major Disaster Declaration and approved Individual Assistance (IA) in those counties because of the impact of the storms. 

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz, and Ventures will implement the program in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. 

For more information about the program, click HERE

County Assistance

County of Monterey 

The Board of Supervisors approved a $728,000 disaster relief program for low-income Monterey County residents who were displaced by flooding or live in flood zones evacuated during this year’s storms. Community Bridges, Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey, and Door to Hope distributed the first round of grants.

The second round of grants are still being coordinated through the County of Monterey. Please check back for more information in the coming days.


Pajaro Water System water is safe to drink

The State of California now says your tap water is safe to drink.

On Friday, April 7, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Monterey County Health Department announced that the NO DRINKING order had been lifted and that the water in the Pajaro Water System was safe to drink.
The water quality of the Sunny Mesa water system is still unknown. Sunny Mesa Water System Customers’ bottled water distribution is at the Pajaro Valley Golf Course from 7:30am to 4pm.

For more information call:

  • Water Utility contact: Judy Varela, 831-722-1389

  • State Water Resources Control Board, Monterey District: 831-655-6939

  • Monterey County Health Department: 831-755-4505



  1. Know the difference between an evacuation orderwarning, and advisory.
    1. Order: Immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.
    2. Warning: Potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
    3. Advisory: Be on alert and follow county recommendations
  2. Have a go bag ready with essential items: medicines, documents and important valuables (photos) in case of evacuation. Be ready to leave in 15 minutes.
  3. Older adults and people with disabilities should schedule a ride through Lift Line before an evacuation warning is upgraded to an evacuation order. To schedule a ride, call 831-688-9663.
  4. Every house and location is unique. If your area is susceptible to flooding be aware of your exits and likely routes out of the area.
  5. Have food, water and an emergency battery or charging (hand crank) in case of a power outage to keep informed.
  6. Do not travel on waterways of more than 3 inches. This can move cars and sweep you away.
  7. If you cannot safely escape, stay in place.
  8. Prepare your house to limit the damage. If you live in a flood zone, don’t leave items on the floor and give yourself 6 inches to limit the damage.


  • In a flood, move to higher ground. Be aware of drainage channels and other areas known to flood suddenly.
  • After a flood, stay away from downed power lines and designated disaster areas.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and take another route. Roads underneath may be damaged and impassable.
  • Don’t drive through floodwaters or around barricades. Only a few inches of water can sweep a vehicle off the road.
  • Stay out of standing floodwater. The dirty water can disguise hazards below the surface, such as deep holes and dangerous debris.
  • Stay weather aware of hazards and possible evacuations during storms. Watch local news or follow authoritative sources on social media, including the National Weather Service, Caltrans District 5, CHP Santa Cruz or other police and fire agencies.
  • Never touch downed wires. If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Debris flow can also be a risk for those living near the CZU burn scar. The risk of debris flows is lower than in the past years and debris flow warning thresholds have been retired, but there is still an elevated risk compared to pre-fire conditions.

2023 January Storm Recovery


President Biden authorized a major disaster declaration for Santa Cruz County on Jan. 14. The declaration is meant to assist local governments, nonprofits, families, and individuals in recovering from the recent winter storms through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants and Small Business Administration loans.

This may include financial assistance for cleanup and sanitation, repairs, and other services for eligible agencies and households. Additional resources, including referral lists and legal aid, may be available.

The deadline to submit FEMA applications was March 16.

If you received a denial, visit one of our Family Resource Collective centers. A denial is often not a rejection, but an ask for additional information and documents.


Community Bridges is providing cleanup tools and resources at our Family Resource Collective (FRC) locations to help our community recover from the devastating storms, floods and mudslides produced by the recent unprecedented winter storms.

Community members can rent cleanup items such as air movers, dehumidifiers, wet/dry vacs, carpet cleaners, push brooms, and pressure washers, at no cost. Other single-use cleanup items, such as contractor bags, gloves, sponges, and disinfectant are also available for the community through generous support of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, American Red Cross and Home Depot Foundation grants.

These items are available at the following FRCs (We ask that you call ahead and check for availability):

  • La Manzana Community Resources – 521 Main Street, Ste. Y, Watsonville | 831-724-2997 

  • Live Oak Community Resources – 1740 17th Ave., Santa Cruz | 831-476-7284

  • Mountain Community Resources – 6134 Highway 9, Felton | 831-335-6600

To rent the equipment, simply complete a damage assessment form and liability release form at one of our FRC locations. Equipment is due and will need to be returned no more than of one week after check out or any time before then. We would like to give as many people as possible the opportunity to utilize the equipment.

Community Bridges purchased the majority of the cleanup items available for rent and disbursement through the use of strategic agency reserves. In an effort to expand the program, we are asking the community to donate lightly used tools and new single-use items for the cleanup effort.

Donations can be dropped off at any of our participating FRC locations.  


Community Bridges hosted storm recovery information sessions for residents of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties via Zoom and in person. Experts on insurance and emergency response were present to answer questions, and we also connected attendees with resources available to them through our community partners. Please help share these recovery resources with our community. Click here to view recordings of meetings and slides.


Community Bridges Family Resource Centers provide resource referral & coordination, financial assistance and public benefit enrollment. Please call or visit any of the locations listed below.

FeltonMountain Community Resources, 6134 Highway 9
Monday and Thursday: 9am to 12:30pm, 1pm to 4:30pm
Tuesday and Wednesday: 9am to 12pm (by appointment 1-5pm)
Phone (831) 335-6600

WatsonvilleLa Manzana Community Resources, 521 Main St., Suite Y
Monday-Friday, 9am to 12pm, 1pm to 4:30pm
(831) 724-2997

Live OakLive Oak Community Resources, 1740 17th Ave.
Monday-Thursday, 9am to 12pm, 1pm to 5pm
(831) 476-7284

Santa CruzNueva Vista Community Resources, 711 East Cliff Dr.
Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, 9am to 12pm, 1pm to 5pm (Closed Thursdays)
Phone (831) 423-5741

CZU Fire Recovery


Through participation in the Santa Cruz County Long Term Recovery Group, Community Bridges and Catholic Charities provide Disaster Case Manager support for families in need of assistance as they navigate the rebuilding process following the CZU August 2020 Lightning Fire.

Disaster Case Managers provide one-on-one support to achieve effective communication with the Recovery Permit Center and connect families with resources, including funding through the Unmet Needs Committee for families that are experiencing rebuild funding gaps.

To connect with a Disaster Case Manager, please email CZUFireHelp@gmail.com or call 831-920-4764.

How To Help CZU Fire Survivors

To support frontline fire recovery services in your community, please visit:

Santa Cruz Community Foundation Fire Relief Fund

Community Bridges Fire Relief

Community Bridges is providing direct financial assistance, including grocery gift cards, to families impacted by the fire.

Emergency response twitter feed

Click to view on Twitter by Puentes_SC.