Renters Should Not Miss Out On Disaster Assistance

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Release date: 
July 13, 2011
Release Number: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If you think you are automatically ineligible for federal disaster assistance because you do not own a home, think again.

Renters, too, may qualify for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other sources if they experienced losses in the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.

"Disaster aid is not limited to homeowners," said Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Bassham. "Thanks to rental support programs, many renters who sustained damage in this disaster can receive the boost they need to get back on their feet."

"The storms and flooding that hit Tennessee didn't discriminate between homeowners and renters," agreed the Federal Coordinating Officer, W. Montague Winfield. "FEMA is here to ensure that all survivors get the assistance they are eligible to receive."

FEMA offers two kinds of help to eligible renters:

  • Money to rent a different place for a limited time while repairs are done to a home that was made uninhabitable by the storms, tornadoes and flooding;
  • Free assistance in finding replacement rental property.

Renters and homeowners alike may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance, designed to help survivors with uninsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This money can be used for:

  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses;
  • Replacement or repair of personal property, including clothing, tools, equipment and household items such as room furnishings and appliances; 
  • Vehicles damaged by the disaster.

To qualify for any of this aid, renters must register with FEMA by Aug. 9, 2011.

To register by phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. The TTY number is 800-462-7585.

By computer, go online to or by smartphone or tablet to

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA's housing assistance and Other Needs Assistance grants for medical, dental, and funeral expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be considered for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. Applicants who do not qualify for a SBA loan may be eligible to receive Other Needs Assistance grants for these items.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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