The disaster housing assistance program provides financial and housing assistance to displaced individuals who are eligible for the disaster assistance program and their households who have also been affected by the disaster.
This housing assistance program offers housing and other housing needs and amenities to people who do not have insurance or enough funds to cover the damage that has been caused by a disaster in their household. This disaster assistance program is usually handled by FEMA, a federal government agency for disaster relief.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is a federal agency that provides relief for disaster survivors in the United States.
A part of the agency’s job is also in disaster prevention and preparing states for impending natural disasters. FEMA assists in providing temporary housing, loans for businesses, funeral arrangements, and providing food, clothing, and other disaster-related assistance.
Who Qualifies For Disaster Housing Relief?
To be able to qualify for the disaster housing relief program, there are some general requirements of FEMA which the applicants must fulfill. There are no income requirements or salary scales of disaster households that are required by FEMA before applying. These criteria are listed below:
- Your primary residence must have suffered losses and damage as a result of a disaster or disaster-related effects.
- Your household and accommodation must be in a presidentially declared disaster area and currently not accessible to your family.
- FEMA’s identity and occupancy verification must be passed by intending applicants.
- You or any other member of your household must be a US citizen or a documented immigrant.
- You currently have no insurance to cover the disaster costs of your home. The disaster relief is not made available to households who are covered by insurance policies.
What is Provided Under The Disaster Assistance Program?
There are two distinct categories of disaster housing assistance that are made available to households affected by a disaster, and they are Direct Housing Assistance and Financial Housing Assistance.
Direct Housing Assistance is usually made available when the household has been approved for disaster. Some of the direct housing assistance offered may include:
- Direct lease that provides a separate existing home for the affected persons’ temporary use. This type of housing is leased by FEMA.
- A multi-family lease is provided and paid by FEMA as temporary housing for affected households in a multi-family rental property.
- Temporary housing units are provided by FEMA and installed as temporary housing for affected households.
- Permanent housing construction involves FEMA providing home repairs or new home construction for affected households. This type of housing assistance is limited to certain areas, most especially those that are not able to get other types of housing assistance.
Financial Housing Assistance is also made available by FEMA to assist households displaced by a disaster. Below are some of the financial assistance offered:
- Rental assistance is part of the financial housing assistance, and it allows households to rent alternative housing for a set period.
- Home repair assistance to repair or reconstruct the home, some utilities, and other residential infrastructures such as driveways, roads, etc.
- Home replacement assistance is used to replace the primary home damaged by a disaster.
- Lodging expense reimbursement is provided for short stays in hotels, motels, and other short-term housing.
What are FEMA hotel Vouchers and how do I get them?
Transitional Shelter Assistance is usually referred to as FEMA’s hotel vouchers for disaster relief. The Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) Program, provided by FEMA, covers the cost of short-term lodging in hotels for disaster-affected households.
Under the TSA Program, affected persons must first apply and fill the necessary applications provided by FEMA and they may be eligible to stay in a hotel or motel for a limited time as it is organized by FEMA.
FEMA only covers the cost of the hotel room and does not fund other external costs such as food, telephone, laundry, and so on. These would be funded by the occupants of the hotel room by themselves.
There are lists of participating hotels and motels on the FEMA website and only those would be directly funded and used as Transitional Shelter Assistance for disaster survivors for a stipulated time. After checking the lists of participating hotels and applying to FEMA, survivors can book their rooms and get in contact with FEMA for proper documentation.
You can check your eligibility for this TSA Program before applying at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or by calling FEMA at 1-(800)621-3362.
How Do I Apply For Disaster Relief?
To apply for the disaster housing assistance program, you can contact FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) and apply by phone.
You can also apply online by filling the application form or visiting a local Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) for help.
Disaster Distress Helpline
The disaster distress helpline is 1-800-985-5990 and can be used to get help for natural disasters like hurricanes, coronavirus outbreaks, and so on. The helpline is available 24 hours, 7 days a week to support those in need and for counseling of those dealing with mental and emotional effects. You can call the FEMA helpline on 1-800 621-3362 and TTY 1-800 462-7585.
Natural disasters are occasionally occurrence which can be prevented, but when it does occur, you should contact your local disaster recovery center or call the disaster helpline to get help for your needs, that is if you have no insurance policy.