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1.5.2.1 FEMA Assistance To Homeowners

Significant Law Change

FEMA provides housing assistance to individuals and families who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially-declared disaster. Renters and homeowners both may qualify for assistance. By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance received from insurance coverage, but homeowners and renters may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance.106

After an application for assistance from FEMA has been received,107 FEMA generally sends out an inspector within ten days, although in catastrophic disasters, it may take longer.108

Some housing assistance funds are available through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. Most disaster assistance from the federal government is in the form of low interest disaster loans administered by the Small Business Administration.109

FEMA housing related assistance includes:

  • 1. Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited time): Financial assistance may be available to homeowners or renters to rent a temporary place to live.
  • 2. Lodging Expenses Reimbursement: Reimbursement of hotel expenses for homeowners or renters may be available for short periods of time due to inaccessibility or utility outage if not covered by insurance or any other program.
  • 3. Repair: Financial assistance may be available to homeowners to repair disaster-caused damage to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, or fit to occupy.
  • 4. Replacement: Financial assistance may be available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
  • 5. Permanent or Semi-Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or other locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.110

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