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Frequently Asked Questions: FEMA Direct Temporary Housing in Oregon

Release Date:
November 17, 2020

What is Direct Temporary Housing?

The Direct Temporary Housing program may be requested by the state if it is determined that eligible applicants are unable to use Rental Assistance to secure temporary housing.  Direct Temporary Housing Assistance provides temporary housing in the form of recreational vehicles (RVs), Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) and Multi-family Lease and Repair and Direct Lease.

Direct Temporary Housing provides temporary housing for survivors as they work to find a permanent housing solution. The program is available for up to 18 months from the date of declaration and includes a monthly recertification process. It is one of the ways FEMA is helping the state meet the need for temporary housing solutions following the disastrous wildfires and straight-line winds that have ravaged the state.

Are homeowners who are trying to rebuild severely damaged or destroyed homes eligible to participate? What about renters?

For many homeowners, it may take a long time to repair a damaged home or build a new one. In these cases an interim housing solution may be needed until a permanent housing solution can be achieved. A similar situation may exist for renters whose rental homes or apartment units were severely damaged or destroyed. 

What are the current types of FEMA Direct Temporary Housing?

Direct Temporary Housing may be provided to eligible survivors of the Oregon wildfires in the following ways:

  • Direct Lease - Enables the government to lease a property that would not generally be available to the public, such as corporate lodging, to provide temporary housing for survivors. FEMA currently is assessing available properties for possible use in each of the counties designated for Direct Temporary Housing. No determinations have been made.
  • Multi-Family Lease and Repair (MLR) – Enables the government to enter into agreements with owners of existing multi-family rental housing (three or more available units) that, with financial assistance, could be quickly repaired to local, state and federal codes and standards, and offered as temporary housing for FEMA applicants. While no decision has been made on suitability, FEMA’s federal partner, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is identifying and investigating possible sites for this program.
  • Manufactured Housing - Consists of transportable temporary housing units (TTHUs) such as recreational vehicles or mobile homes.
  • FEMA recently opened a TTHU staging yard in Jackson County. A small number of transportable temporary housing units have been delivered to the site. FEMA is purchasing some RVs from Oregon retailers. Mobile home units will be moved from other states where inventory is stored.

 

What is the process for becoming eligible for Direct Temporary Housing?

To be considered for Direct Temporary Housing, disaster survivors must first register for FEMA disaster assistance. There are several ways to apply: Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app, or call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 (or TTY: 800-462-7585) from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. PST, seven days a week. Those who use a Relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their assigned number for that service. They should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish).

 

How is eligibility for Direct Temporary Housing determined?

Survivors must first meet the general eligibility requirements for Individual Assistance to be considered for Direct Temporary Housing and their primary residence must be in a county authorized for Direct Temporary Housing (Jackson, Lincoln, Linn and Marion). Pre-disaster homeowners with a FEMA verified loss of $17,000 or more may be eligible, along with pre-disaster renters whose residences have been determined by FEMA to have received major damage or have been destroyed.

 

What accommodations are available for eligible applicants with access or functional needs?

Applicants with access and functional needs are prioritized for accessible Direct Temporary Housing units built to Uniform Accessibility Standards (UFAS), which include ramps or platform steps to accommodate survivors’ accessibility.

 

How does a survivor let FEMA know they want to participate in the program?

Survivors do not need to request Direct Temporary Housing. FEMA will contact eligible survivors for a pre-placement interview to determine if the program is necessary or a good fit for each household.

 

How will I know I may be eligible? 

FEMA will call each eligible survivor so it’s very important that the telephone number provided on the survivor’s application is accurate and works.  FEMA will first confirm the survivor’s registration information and determine whether the applicant is in need of direct housing. FEMA will explain the program and determine if the survivor wants to participate in Direct Temporary Housing and assess the household’s needs based on their application for FEMA assistance. 

 

When will people move into temporary housing units?

While there is no specific timeline for a survivor to occupy a housing unit after their eligibility is determined, the state and FEMA are making every effort to work through the process as quickly as possible. FEMA’s goal is to begin delivering and installing TTHUs (RVs  and mobile homes) before Thanksgiving.

 

Where will the temporary housing units be placed?

  • FEMA may be able to place a unit on the private property of eligible households. However, FEMA must ensure the site is compliant with applicable building codes, environmental laws and floodplain regulations. If that is not possible, FEMA will lease pads in commercial parks.
  • All potential sites to place the units are inspected to assess feasibility for placement. The site must be compliant with applicable local ordinances, as well as building codes, permitting, zoning, environmental laws and floodplain regulations. Federal law prevents FEMA from placing units in the following Special Flood Hazard Areas: V, VE, CBRA, and Floodway.
  • If sites are determined not suitable due to the above reasons, FEMA may lease property and construct a group site, which is similar to commercial parks. The same regulations governing site placements in a commercial park apply to a FEMA-constructed group site.
  • The State of Oregon and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding local ordinance requirements, permitting, zoning, transportation requirements, setbacks, utility connections and inspections.

 

How will FEMA install the transportable temporary housing units?

FEMA contractors experienced in the “haul and install” process will place the survivor’s temporary housing either in a commercial park, on the survivor’s private property or in a FEMA-constructed group site. Once a site is determined feasible, FEMA will issue a work order to have a unit delivered and installed at the site. FEMA makes the determination where the unit will be placed in accordance with local regulations.

 

How does FEMA determine if a private property site is feasible?

A site inspection is conducted to assess if a temporary housing unit can be placed on the survivor’s property. This includes checking for functioning water, sewer and power connections, any floodplain ordinance restrictions, the presence of debris that may block access to the site and other factors.

 

What is the installation process for a FEMA temporary housing unit?

The installation process, which must comply with local permitting, includes placement of the unit, anchoring of the unit and hookup of utilities (power, water, sewer). Once installation is complete, an occupancy inspection is made. When the unit passes inspection, it is ready for occupancy. At that point, a license-in agreement to occupy the unit will be signed.

 

How long can survivors live in the temporary housing units?

  • Direct housing is temporary. These units are not permanent dwellings. FEMA staff will meet with survivors regularly to determine their continued eligibility and demonstrated needs and assist them in developing a permanent housing plan.
  • To remain eligible, survivors must demonstrate continuing progress on a permanent housing plan. FEMA staff will keep survivors up to date on program details and deadlines through phone calls, letters and face-to-face meetings (only when necessary due to COVID-19 considerations).
  • To remain eligible, survivors must adhere to all the conditions of a license-in agreement which specifies the responsibilities of the survivor in maintaining the temporary housing unit. Failure to follow these conditions can result in the occupants having to move out of the unit.
  • FEMA temporary housing assistance may be provided for up to 18 months from the date of the presidential disaster declaration (Sept. 15, 2020 through March 15, 2022) for survivors who demonstrate a continuing need and work toward a permanent housing plan.
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Last updated November 18, 2020