FEMA: Temporary Emergency Housing Mission Sets Path for Long-Term Recovery

Temporary Emergency Housing Mission Sets Path for Long-term Recovery

After Hurricane Irma barreled through Florida, a primary concern was emergency temporary housing for those who had damaged or destroyed homes. The state and FEMA implemented several options for survivors: housing through travel trailers and direct leases, Transitional Sheltering Assistance and the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power program. These options served as a first step in the long-term recovery process.

FEMA’s Direct Housing Mission:
• Allows temporary month-to-month housing through travel trailers or Direct Lease. During this time survivors must show monthly progress on a permanent housing plan to remain eligible.
• Established in the four hardest hit counties—Collier, Hendry, Lee and Monroe. Over five months, 318 eligible applicants received Direct Temporary Housing Assistance.
• Is an intermediate step between sheltering and permanent housing solutions for survivors who are unable to locate temporary rental resources on their own.
• Aims to help survivors remain in their community.
• Does not affect any grant money an applicant might receive.

As of Feb. 4, 2018, FEMA completed its Direct Housing Mission, having placed all eligible applicants in Direct Housing units:
• 256 in travel trailers; and
• 62 in Direct Lease units.

As of March 8, 40 applicant households had moved out, having found longer-term housing solutions.

Travel Trailers
Travel Trailers are used when other temporary housing solutions are not available for a family’s circumstances. They can be placed on a private lot or in a commercial park to provide an applicant household a place to live during the repair and rebuilding of a damaged home.
• Private sites present complex and time-consuming installation as each has unique challenges; at the completion of its Direct Housing Mission, FEMA had placed 127 applicant households in travel trailers on private sites.
• Commercial parks are an alternative for applicants who do not own land or whose lots cannot accommodate a manufactured unit. In Florida, FEMA placed 129 applicant households in travel trailers in commercial parks.

Direct Lease Program
Direct Lease provides FEMA-leased existing rental units for eligible applicants. This program is used in circumstances where an applicant is unable to make use of FEMA’s Rental Assistance or other available Direct Housing programs to find adequate temporary housing.

Florida is the first state to implement the Direct Lease option for survivors. FEMA placed 62 applicant households into Direct Lease properties.

FEMA re-evaluates each applicant’s eligibility on a month-to-month basis. During this time the applicant must show progress on a permanent housing plan.

Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power program – Monroe County only
STEP is a FEMA-funded home-repair program, administered by the state and managed locally. Monroe County is the only county that chose to participate in the program.
• STEP gets survivors back in their homes faster instead of a hotel, rental or travel trailer while they rebuild.
• STEP is cost-effective; supports the tax base; and helps stabilize the community.
• For a home to qualify for STEP, the work to make it safe, sanitary and functional cannot exceed $20,000.
• It does not affect Individual Assistance grants an applicant may receive.

The deadline for homeowners to register for STEP was Dec. 28, 2017.
As of March 9, 136 applicant households were active in the STEP program.

Transitional Sheltering Assistance
TSA places applicants and family members into a hotel while they look for an alternative place to live. FEMA pays the hotel directly and the costs are not deducted from any grant money applicants might receive.

TSA sheltered more than 27,000 households. The program ended March 11, 2018.

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