How FEMA Rental Assistance Helps Florida Hurricane Survivors
Florida hurricane survivors whose residences are uninhabitable may receive temporary rental assistance from FEMA to pay for a place to stay.
For those who are unable to find a house or apartment for rent, FEMA may consider on a case-by-case basis reimbursing survivors for temporary stays at other lodging.
• Register for assistance:
As a homeowner or renter, first apply with FEMA. There are four ways to apply:
o Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
o On the FEMA Mobile App
o At a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) – find a nearby DRC at asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm)
o Call 800-621-3362 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service/VRS may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).
• Apply by the deadline:
Hurricane Matthew survivors have until Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 to apply for disaster assistance.
• Determine eligibility:
If you receive housing assistance through your insurance company, by federal law, FEMA cannot duplicate housing benefits. However, if you exhaust housing assistance funds from your insurance company, FEMA may then be able to provide temporary rental assistance.
• Locating rental housing:
o As an eligible applicant, you can locate available rental resources through FEMA’s online housing portal. Access the routinely updated portal online at asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm
o Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or visit a DRC. They may locate their closest center by visiting asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm or by calling 800-621-3362.
o Applicants can also locate housing on their own that is within the temporary rental assistance grant FEMA provides to them.
• There are two ways to receive financial help to pay for temporary rental assistance:
If eligible, you can choose to have the funds electronically transferred to you or receive paper checks. If the postal service cannot deliver to an affected residence, it will hold the check at the post office for you to pick up. Bring your driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification for pick-up.
• Payments received in installments depending on the cause of damage:
o The first installment of temporary rental assistance funds is for two months if a FEMA inspector determines the home is uninhabitable due to damage caused by the disaster.
o If the home is uninhabitable due to a power outage or is inaccessible, applicants may be eligible for one month of rental assistance.
o NOTE: FEMA assistance is a grant and survivors do not have to pay it back.
• If extended rental assistance is needed beyond two months:
o Those survivors needing more than two months of temporary rental assistance must demonstrate to FEMA their continued financial need. Eligible applicants will receive a packet from FEMA about 15 days after receiving their first temporary rental assistance grant.
o The packet contains instructions on how applicants must demonstrate to FEMA their continued financial need for temporary housing assistance. FEMA will continue to send the packets if an applicant continues to receive temporary housing assistance.
• Stay in touch with FEMA:
o Keep your banking and contact information updated in order to receive grant funds. Update information online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling
o Keep receipts and notes for all of the ways you spend FEMA grant money. Since FEMA has the right to audit the way grant money is spent, you may need to provide this information to prove you used the money for its intended purpose.
• Possible referral to other agencies or groups:
If FEMA cannot meet your housing needs, you may be referred to charitable or volunteer groups for assistance. Survivors who have registered with FEMA can discuss charitable or volunteer referrals by calling 800-621-3362 or finding a nearby DRC at asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm
• Available resources in Florida:
The Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services’ website, www.flairs.org/florida-2-1-1-network/ lists instructions on how to obtain help and resources for parts of Florida. Survivors can also contact their local emergency management officials for more information online at www.floridadisaster.org/County_EM/county_list.htm