Lacey, Wash. -- When the recent storms raged in western Washington, they devastated more than houses. Water, mud and high winds destroyed people?s security - their homes.
"We understand how devastating floods can be," said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Our goal is to make sure that everyone displaced by the storms has a safe and secure place to live."
To date, more than $15.2 million in housing assistance has been approved for nearly 3,200 applicants. FEMA and the State work on a case-by-case basis to determine what applicants? needs are and what type of assistance they are eligible for.
"While funding repairs to make a house livable or providing money to temporarily rent a house or apartment," said Kurt Hardin state coordinating officer for the disaster, "the State and FEMA work closely with individuals to identify a housing solution that meets their family?s needs."
As soon as the FEMA inspector verifies that the primary home needs disaster-related repairs and the occupants state they need to relocate during re-building, assistance begins. FEMA uses local Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Market Rates (FMR) to determine monthly rental costs including basic utilities.
Eligible applicants - owners and renters alike - receive an initial payment equivalent to two months of FMR for the size of house they need. Additional rental assistance may be available beyond the initial payment, based on verification of a continuing need.
Applicants with eligibility questions should contact the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.
One way to find an alternative rental unit is to call the FEMA/State Housing Resource Helpline at 1-866-233-7643 from 8:00-6:00 Monday through Saturday. FEMA and the State have researched rental units in all the disaster-damaged areas, especially the hardest hit areas of Lewis County.
FEMA can provide referrals to rentals in all designated counties. The goal is to help families find living space within a reasonable commute of their damaged home. Since this is an emergency situation, people sometimes need to commute further than they used to.
To search for rental resources online:
Go to: /how-do-i-find-place-stay
Click on: Search for information about housing rental resources.
Select your state, county, and other search criteria.
You can also locate rentals by calling the FEMA Helpline 1-800-621-3362 or visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.
Sometimes people initially decide to stay with family, friends or neighbors immediately after a disaster. As time passes, these arrangements might prove to be less than satisfactory. If your housing needs have changed since you first registered with FEMA, call the Helpline (1-800-621-3362) to find out if you are eligible for rental assistance.
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.