Caballero, Soria secure $120 million for Merced County

The hefty sum was an under-the-radar win for Valley communities pummeled by flooding this winter.

With the approval of the California State budget, Merced County will receive $120 million to help with student housing and with recovery efforts from this winter’s flooding. 

Sen. Anna Caballero (D–Merced) and Asm. Esmeralda Soria (D–Fresno) partnered to secure the funding. 


The big picture: Earlier this year Planada, an unincorporated community in Merced County, suffered severe damage due to the flooding over the winter, resulting in evacuations as homes and businesses were devastated. 

  • Part of the state budget includes $20 million directed to Planada to address the financial loss caused by the floods, including vehicle damage, home remediation, damaged furniture and appliances. 
  • The funding also is significant for Planada because, according to a report from UC Merced, a large portion of the residents in the community are not citizens, making them ineligible for unemployment insurance and federal disaster aid. 
  • On the education front, the budget includes $100 million for an affordable housing project known as the Promise Housing Initiative. 
  • The Promise Housing Initiative is part of the Merced Promise transfer program, which helps Merced College students transfer to UC Merced. 
  • Under the initiative, UC Merced and Merced College will receive $50 million a piece for affordable housing, which comes down to a rate of $596 per bed. 

What they’re saying: Caballero and Soria thanked California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration for prioritizing and supporting Merced County in the budget. 

  • “The partnership with Assemblywoman Soria has thus far resulted in the creation of the distressed hospital loan program, funding to help the recovery and restoration of the Planada community, and more housing for our students attending Merced College and UC Merced,” Caballero said. “I look forward to our continued collaboration to ensure a bright future for the Central Valley.” 
  • Soria added, “I hope that our rural Central Valley communities continue to receive much-needed resources and funding.”
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