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Continued Rental Assistance May be Available from FEMA

SACRAMENTO – If you are a California survivor of the recent wildfires receiving rental assistance for temporary housing through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, let FEMA know if you have a continuing need.

Rental assistance is for paying rent, including a security deposit, at a place other than your damaged home. To continue to receive it, 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.

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.

The deadline to register with FEMA for disaster assistance for Disaster 4558 was Dec. 11, 2020. This is for August/September wildfires in the counties of Butte, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Trinity, Tulare and Yolo. If you registered in time, you may apply for rental assistance even if you haven’t already.

The deadline to register with FEMA for disaster assistance for Disaster 4569 was Dec. 16, 2020. This is for later fires in the counties of Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou and Sonoma.

If you are currently receiving rental assistance and you have an ongoing need, you must ask for it to continue.  This is the process:

  • Contact FEMA.
  • Prove you’ve spent previous assistance on rent.
  • Provide the status of your housing plan.

Extensions on rental assistance may be granted for 3-month periods, up to a maximum of 18 months from the date of the presidential declarations: Aug. 22, 2020, for Disaster 4558 and Oct. 16, 2020, for Disaster 4569.

The application must be accompanied by these supporting documents:

  • Pre-disaster and current household income status.
  • Copies of pre-disaster lease, utility bills, renter’s insurance information.
  • Copy of current lease or rental agreement signed by you and the landlord.
  • Rental receipts, canceled checks or money orders showing the rental assistance was used to pay for housing expenses.

Submit documents by creating an account at DisasterAssistance.gov or by uploading via the FEMA app to a smartphone or tablet.

Homeowners:

If your FEMA Verified Loss exceeds the amount of initial Rental Assistance award you received, the application to request Continued Temporary Rental Assistance will be mailed to you after you receive your initial rental assistance award.

If your verified loss does not exceed the initial rental award, you must call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 ( TTY: 800-462-7585) and ask for an application for Continued Temporary Rental Assistance.

Renters:

You will need to call the Helpline to ask for an application for Continued Temporary Rental Assistance.

Your request will be evaluated to determine if you are eligible for the extension, but there is no guarantee of rental assistance past the first two months.

For the latest information on wildfire recovery, visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4558 or https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4569 and follow the FEMA Region 9 Twitter account at https://twitter.com/femaregion9.

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Sierra News Online

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