Frequently Asked Questions About Disasters

This page offers answers to frequently asked questions about Individual Assistance for disaster survivors.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Use the dropdown menu to filter by the type of question, or type in a keyword.

Does FEMA offer help with short-term lodging while I look for a permanent place to live?

Displaced renters who need a safe place to stay while they look for longer-term housing may be eligible for short-term hotel stays paid by FEMA under its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program. Applicants cannot request TSA, but FEMA will identify survivors who may be eligible and have a need for this specific assistance. FEMA will communicate TSA eligibility through a variety of methods including voice; text; and email.

If TSA is approved by your state, territory, or tribal government, the list of participating hotels will be posted on You can also find this information by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. If you use video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA your number for that service.

What other types of help are available for displaced survivors?

Renters may be eligible for grants from FEMA to help with disaster-related expenses, such as:

  • Renting a home when the renter’s previous one is unsafe to live in due to the disaster or their apartment complex or home is under repair
  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses
  • Child-care assistance
  • Moving and storage fees
  • Replacement or repair of necessary personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, such as appliances and furniture, textbooks and computers used by students, and work equipment or tools used by independent contractors
  •  Repair or replacement of vehicles damaged by the disaster
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses

I was receiving rental assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and was displaced due to federally declared disaster. Do I qualify for FEMA disaster assistance?

FEMA cannot duplicate types of assistance received from another agency. However, if you were forced to leave your HUD-assisted housing because of damage caused by federally declared disaster, you may be eligible for help from FEMA. This includes displaced families or residents who were:

  • Living in HUD-assisted public housing
  • Living in a privately-owned apartment that provides rental assistance from HUD
  • Living in a private home using a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher from a housing authority
What type of help is available for HUD-assisted renters?

If you received Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rental assistance, you may be eligible for temporary rental assistance to pay for a place to live until:

  • You relocate back to public housing;
  • You relocate back to the private housing that provides HUD assistance; or
  • You sign a lease with a private property owner using a Section 8 voucher.

Assistance also includes grants to replace essential contents, such as clothing and essential household items, and reimburse you for serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate types of assistance received from another agency.

Where can I find information on renter’s rights and guidance related to evictions?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides some guidance on renter's rights. Additional help may be available by calling the toll-free legal aid hotline at (800) 310-7029.

Where can I upload my lodging expense receipts?

Applicants can upload their receipts online to their account. All documents should include the registration and disaster number. Download instructions on how to upload your documents. This information is available in multiple languages.

Survivors can also submit through standard mail at: P.O. Box 10055, Attn: FEMA Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055 

Or Fax 1-800-827-8112 (Cover sheet required)

Is temporary rental assistance available for renters as well as homeowners?

Financial assistance is available to homeowners or renters to rent a temporary place to live if your home is unlivable because of the disaster, and you have no insurance coverage for temporary housing. If there are no rental properties are available, as a last resort, a government housing unit may be provided in some areas.

Does FEMA look at other criteria before they make their decision on temporary rental assistance?

Yes. If your FEMA application shows your primary residence sustained damage in the storm, a FEMA inspector will contact you to assess the level of damage. Based on the assessment, FEMA will determine if you qualify for an initial award of up to two months of rental assistance.

What type of housing will I be able to move into?

If you qualify for temporary rental assistance, FEMA will refer you to properties such as a house, apartment, hotel or motel room that are available for rent.

I’m a renter. Do I qualify for FEMA assistance?

FEMA may be able to provide pre-disaster renters with money to help pay for short-term lodging expenses, costs for renting temporary housing, and the costs of replacing or repairing a vehicle and other necessary personal property.  FEMA may also be able to help pay for uninsured medical, dental, childcare, moving and storage expenses.

If Direct Housing Assistance is authorized for the disaster, pre-disaster renters may be eligible if they are unable to use financial assistance to secure temporary housing.

Last updated September 27, 2022