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September 29, 2023

Locals affected by storms are eligible for rental assistance

Residents who cannot live in their homes while repairing damage from the severe storms and flooding that started on Feb. 21, or must find a new place to live, can apply for temporary rental assistance from FEMA, says a press release from the federal agency. Residents in the disaster-designated counties of San Benito Kern, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Mono, Monterey,San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Tuolumne may apply.

What to Know about FEMA Rental Assistance:

– The first two months of rental assistance is provided without having to provide rental receipts, says the press release. If a FEMA inspector determines a primary home is uninhabitable, two months of rental assistance may be awarded separately and not included in the home repair grant received by the resident.

– Those who still need rental assistance after the first two-month period, must contact FEMA to fill out an additional form.

– Extensions on rental assistance may be granted for three-month periods at a time. Toward the end of three months, applicants must contact FEMA’s Helpline at 800.621.3362 to recertify. Rental assistance is available up to a maximum of 18 months from the date of the FEMA disaster declaration. Applicants must continue to work toward obtaining permanent housing for continued rental assistance.

– In order to receive continued rental assistance, you must provide: receipts or canceled checks or money orders used to pay for rent; and information on your longer term or permanent housing plan.

– There are two ways to receive the money for rental assistance: Choose to have funds electronically transmitted to your bank; or paper checks. 

If you are no longer receiving mail at your damaged property, provide a current address so you can receive the check. 

FEMA’s rental assistance includes money for a security deposit and essential utilities, such as electricity and water, but not cable or internet, the press release continues. The approved rental amount is based on fair market rates for your area as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

– FEMA rental assistance is NOT taxable, nor does it have to be paid back.

For more information on rental assistance and to apply, call FEMA’s Helpline at 800.621.3362. If you use video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Helpline operators are available from 4am-10pm daily. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for an interpreter who speaks your language.

Staff Report
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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