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Housing Found for Displaced Wildfire Victims

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Release date: 
December 3, 2007
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PASADENA, Calif.? -- When the recent wildfires whipped through Southern California, they leveled more than buildings. For more than 2,000 families, the flames destroyed their security - their homes.

"We understand how devastating fires can be," said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Hall of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Our goal is to make sure that everyone displaced by the fires has a safe and secure place to live."

Of the 18,123 people who have registered for aid, most had insurance coverage which gave them funds for finding alternative housing arrangements. ?About 8 percent (1,510) needed some form of FEMA housing assistance. FEMA housing specialists work with each individual and family to find the best solutions available.

More than 90 percent of the applicants who needed help with housing (about 1,400) have found suitable temporary housing. Typically that means living in rental property. Many applicants located housing on their own, but FEMA and the state helped when needed.

While victims are putting their lives back together, FEMA may pay rental costs not covered by insurance for up to 18 months.? If insurance money is delayed, FEMA will advance the money, which must be repaid after the insurance settlement is received. FEMA has approved $2.8 million to pay for rental assistance.

More than $7.5 million has been given to disaster victims for housing assistance. The largest portion, $4.7 million, is going to 176 applicants whose homes were completely destroyed. Another $475, 000 has been earmarked for 16 applicants to make repairs to their property.

A disaster victim may receive up to $28,800, the maximum grant available through FEMA. The state has a supplemental grant program with individual awards up to $10,000. To date, the state has approved $1.3 million in supplemental grants to help cover disaster-related funeral, medical, dental and transportation costs.

Homeowners, renters and businesses can apply for a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is the federal government's primary funding source for the long-term rebuilding and repair of disaster-damaged private property. To date, SBA has approved $43.3 million in 356 loans to homeowners and businesses.

FEMA works closely with individuals to identify the type and location of housing that would be most appropriate.

Whether funding repairs to an existing home, providing money to rent a house or apartment, or funding a transitional home, FEMA makes every effort to find a housing solution that meets the individual's needs.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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