SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV – June 10, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) – The goal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster housing program is to provide financial assistance to help disaster survivors address their needs for temporary housing and home repairs.
There are two primary federal programs that offer disaster assistance, including housing assistance.
- FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides money and direct services to those affected by a major disaster.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans for damage to property owned by homeowners, renters, businesses, and private non-profit organizations that are not fully covered by insurance.
Here are some of the most common questions about FEMA’s IHP.
I can’t live in my home. Can I get help to rent a house or apartment? Rental assistance for temporary housing may be available if your home is uninhabitable because of the disaster. If there are no rental properties available, you may be provided a temporary housing unit.
The house I rented was destroyed in the flood? Can I get help with paying rent for another house? If you were forced to move out of your house because of the disaster, FEMA grants may be available to cover temporary housing needs.
Will FEMA give me enough money for all the repairs I need to make because of flood damage, and to replace all my property that was damaged or destroyed? It’s important to have realistic expectations. By law, FEMA grants are limited to making a home safe, sanitary and functional and to help pay for essential disaster-related expenses. This may not be enough to cover your entire loss.
If I have insurance can I still get help for temporary housing or home repairs from FEMA? FEMA may be able to help you with disaster-related costs that your insurance does not cover. The only way to find out what may be available is to register with FEMA. You will be asked about your insurance when you register and you may eventually need to provide FEMA with a settlement statement from your insurance company stating what part of the loss insurance covers. FEMA isn’t allowed to duplicate payments you receive from another source, such as insurance payments.
Are only low-income individuals qualified for disaster housing assistance? Federal disaster assistance programs may be available to those who suffered damage, regardless of income. The programs are available to any eligible applicant and are not based on income. The kinds of help provided depend on the applicant’s circumstances and unmet disaster-related needs.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about SBA loans.
Why did I receive an SBA disaster loan application after applying with FEMA? The basic form of federal help to make home repairs which are not fully covered by insurance is a low-interest SBA loan. You must complete the application and return it to FEMA. If SBA determines you cannot afford a loan, SBA will automatically refer you back to FEMA for additional help.
I think I can pay for the repairs on my own; should I apply for an SBA loan? You may find that the cost to repair your home is more than you planned. With an approved SBA loan, you will know that you have the money to make needed repairs. While no one wants additional debt, a low-interest loan with affordable payments is a better alternative than not making complete disaster repairs.
If I am offered an SBA loan, do I have to accept it? You do not have to accept the loan, but if you do not accept the loan you will not be eligible for other federal disaster assistance.
I want to build a retaining wall so my house won’t flood next time. Can I get money to do that? If your loan application is approved, you may be eligible for funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples of improvements include retaining walls, drains and sump pumps.
To be eligible for housing assistance, disaster survivors must apply for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling toll-free, 800-621-FEMA (3362), between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., daily. Those with speech or hearing impairments may call TTY 800-462-7585. The type and amount of assistance is determined on a case by case basis.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.
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