PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — The Southern California Gas Co. said Thursday it is safe for displaced Porter Ranch residents to move back home, now that the leaky well, which had spewed methane for 16 weeks, has been declared permanently sealed.

But some people said they are skeptical that the air is safe to breath again. “I don’t care what their test results say from up on the hill. When people living in their homes are done getting sick, then it’s safe to go home,” said Matt Pakucko of Save Porter Ranch.

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Meantime, the city of Los Angeles planned to open a community-resources office in the area Friday to help displaced residents return home.

“Stopping the leak is only the first stage of recovery,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Thousands of lives were upended by this disaster. And the city of Los Angeles is here to help people return to their homes, start doing business again and get back to normal as quickly as possible.”

The help center is located in the Youth Center Building of the Mason Recreation Center at 10520 Mason Avenue in Chatsworth. It will offer residents information such as updates from the county assessor about possible impacts on tax bills, disaster relief for businesses and access to health services.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to call on its sanitation bureau to adjust the sewer-service and trash bills of residents who moved out of their homes due to the gas leak.

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Residents will also be eligible for credit if they have not been placing their trash or recycling containers out for service. Requests for bill credits can be made to LA Sanitation, which can be reached at (800) 773-2489 or by calling 311.

Porter Ranch’s small businesses that were affected financially by the leak can apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The loans, up to $2 million, are the result of a disaster declaration made by the SBA and are available to businesses and small nonprofits in the Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties for use toward debt, salaries and other bills that were made difficult to pay by the leak.

The deadline to file economic injury applications is Nov. 8.

Businesses do not need to make an appointment to receive application help at the SBA’s Business Recovery Center at 9207 Oakdale Avenue in Chatsworth.

Applications can also be found online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. The SBA’s customer service may be reached at (800) 659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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