LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Survivors of Hurricanes Laura and Delta in designated parishes could be eligible for rental assistance for temporary housing through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program.
FEMA pays rent, including a security deposit, at a place other than your damaged home. Your rental can be a house, apartment, hotel or recreational vehicle that can keep you near your job, home, school and place of worship. The assistance includes essential utilities such as electricity and water, but cable and internet are not available.
The approved rental amount will be based on fair market rates for your area as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To continue to receive rental assistance, you must prove an ongoing need, which may be that suitable housing is not available or that your permanent housing plan has not been completed through no fault of your own. If you intend to seek continued rental assistance, you’ll need receipts to show you used the assistance for rent. Survivors should keep receipts for three years.
You may qualify for continued assistance if you:
- Demonstrate your disaster-related financial need; and
- Show you are developing a longer-term or permanent housing plan or demonstrate progress toward one. A contractor’s estimate of repairs can point to progress.
A permanent housing plan is one that would put you back into permanent safe, sanitary and functional housing within a reasonable time frame. You must continue to work toward obtaining permanent housing to remain eligible for continued rental assistance.
If you have an ongoing need, you must ask for the help to continue. To do so:
- If you are a renter, contact FEMA and ask for a Declaration of Continuing Need for Rental Assistance.
- If you are a homeowner, the document is normally mailed to the rental-assistance recipient 15 days after the grant is approved.
- Return the form to FEMA by either mailing the completed form to: FEMA, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-8055, faxing it to (800) 827-8112, or uploading it to your FEMA Disaster Assistance Center account, available online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
Extensions on rental assistance may be granted for three-month periods up to a maximum of 18 months from the date of the FEMA disaster declaration.
To be eligible for continued rental assistance, you must meet the following conditions:
- You were awarded initial rental assistance and used it as intended.
- You are unable to return to your home because it cannot be accessed or is not suitable to live in due to the disaster.
- You do not have money for housing without assistance.
- You are not being given temporary housing help from any other source.
- You provide the status of your permanent housing plan.
The completed application will require these supporting documents:
- Pre-disaster and current household income status;
- Copies of pre-disaster lease, utility bills, and renter’s insurance information;
- Copy of the lease or rental agreement signed by you and the landlord; and
- Rental receipts, canceled checks or money orders showing the rental assistance was used to pay for housing expenses.
Hurricane survivors can receive up to 18 months of rental assistance as they make progress toward finding long-term solutions.
It is important to keep FEMA updated with your contact information and housing status.