Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), which pays for hotel rooms as temporary, emergency housing for eligible Hurricane Irma survivors, ends March 10, 2018. Under TSA, disaster survivors may be eligible to stay in a participating hotel or motel for a limited period of time and have the cost of the room and taxes covered by FEMA. The agency pays hotels directly on behalf of eligible survivor households.
At the request of the State of Florida, FEMA activated the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program after the Sept. 10, 2017 disaster declaration to provide short-term, emergency sheltering in hotels for survivors. TSA is a cost-share program only executed at the request of a state.
After the first 28-day period of assistance, the state requested and FEMA granted, five extensions: Nov. 4, Dec. 3, Jan. 6, Feb. 10, and March 10.
TSA has sheltered 27,303 households in participating hotels and to date, more than 26,000 have found suitable, longer-term housing and moved on with recovery. As of March 1, 1,124 remain. The cost for the program has been over $110 million, with a federal cost share of 75 percent and the State of Florida paying the remaining 25 percent.
Survivor cases are periodically reviewed for eligibility for FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program— rental assistance, repair assistance and help with other needs, such as transportation—including continued eligibility for TSA. FEMA has also helped survivors to develop their own long-term housing plans, suggested other housing resources, and apprised survivors of their check out date. Survivors have been informed March 10 signals the end of hotel stays paid through TSA.
Additionally, counties have initiated and FEMA, the state, voluntary agencies, local organizations, long-term recovery groups and local resources have supported a series of workshops in seven counties where the highest concentration of survivors in hotels reside. Survivors still participating in TSA have been invited to the workshops where they can connect to long-term housing and other resources.
FEMA Mass Care and Emergency Assistance staff continue coordination with Human Services, the Individuals and Households Program, Voluntary Agency Liaisons, the Unmet Needs Task Force, state and voluntary counterparts to meet the needs of survivors. Since October 16, 2017, Mass Care has made 40,189 callouts to applicants in TSA to review eligibility, upcoming deadlines and checkout dates, their permanent housing plans and other disaster-related needs. Callouts result in referrals to other agencies for needs such as food, transportation, medical assistance, access and functional needs, and legal and employment help. TSA assistance does not affect an applicant’s eligibility for Individuals and Households Program assistance such as rental assistance, home repair, and other needs assistance.
Survivors who are still participating in the program are strongly urged to take advantage of the resources presented them in workshops, through caseworkers and nonprofits to arrange other housing solutions by the scheduled check-out date of March 11.
Households may call 2-1-1 if they have unmet housing needs and need help with their permanent housing plans. They may also go online FloridaHousingSearch.org to find available housing.