Transitional Sheltering Assistance

Release Date:
June 29, 2023

FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program offers a short-term form of non-congregate sheltering assistance for eligible, displaced disaster survivors taking refuge in emergency shelter locations.[1] FEMA may implement TSA under emergency or major disaster declarations that include federal assistance to individuals and households under Section 408 of the Stafford Act, and emergency sheltering pursuant to either Section 403 or 502 of the Stafford Act. TSA is subject to cost-share.[2]

FEMA contracts with a lodging service provider to administer the TSA program. The contractor recruits lodging properties/facilities across the nation and the territories to participate in the TSA program. Once TSA has been approved and implemented, participating hotels are made available to eligible registrants. FEMA ensures TSA is administered in an equitable and impartial manner, without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, English proficiency, or economic status.

Prior to requesting TSA, a State, Tribal or Territorial Government (STT) should evaluate existing sheltering options and assess the extent of any other planned federally supported non-congregate shelter options, the intended population, and a transition plan. Additional considerations include:

  • Evacuations
  • Congregate Shelters 
  • Social Vulnerability Index
  • Projected Displaced Population 
  • Utilities and Access  
  • Housing Analysis 

The STT written request for TSA must include:

  • STT Activation Request Letter signed by the Governor/Tribal Chief Executive (TCE) or Governor's or TCE’s Authorized Representative, identifying the conditions in the current disaster or emergency to support the TSA request. 
  • A signed, fully executed, and accepted Resource Request Form. 
  • Specific length of time the STT is requesting TSA be made available, to include justification for requested duration. 
  • Identification of which Individual Assistance (IA) designated jurisdictions the STT is requesting TSA. 
  • Acknowledgement of the cost share for TSA. 
  • An assessment of utility outages in the impacted area and the estimated restoration dates. 
  • The anticipated period of displacement or inaccessibility from their pre-disaster home or community exceeds the ability of the STT to shelter these survivors. 

The FEMA Individual Assistance Division Director (IADD) may approve a request from an STT for TSA under any of the following conditions:

  • The current shelter capacity does not meet the sheltering needs of the displaced population.
  • Congregate sheltering support resources are inadequate to sustain existing shelter needs.
  • There is a need to return facilities serving as congregate shelters to their pre-disaster use.
  • Rental resources are not sufficiently available and/or priced within fair market rent standards to meet the needs of the displaced population within the affected area.

The IADD may approve the initial period of TSA for not less than 30 days and up to 180 days from the date of the disaster or emergency declaration. If the IADD authorizes TSA for less than the maximum 180-day period of assistance, the Regional Administrator (RA) has the authority to extend TSA for any remaining days up to the maximum 180-day period.

Displaced disaster or emergency survivors may be eligible for TSA if they have completed a valid registration for FEMA disaster assistance and meet eligibility criteria.[3] FEMA will generally conduct eligibility reviews every two weeks throughout the TSA activation. Individuals will be provided a seven-day notice prior to their TSA eligibility ending. 


  • Section 403(a)(3)(B) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as codified at 42 U.S.C. §5107b(a)(3)(B), which authorizes emergency sheltering for Presidentially declared major disasters
  • Section 502(a)(6) and (8) of the Stafford Act, as codified at 42 U.S.C. § 5192(a)(6) and (8), which authorizes federal assistance to individuals and households and emergency sheltering for Presidentially declared emergencies 
  • Section 408 of the Stafford Act, as codified at 42 U.S.C. § 5174, which authorizes financial and direct services assistance for individuals and households for Presidentially declared major disasters



  1.  Non-congregate shelters are locations where each individual or household has a living space that offers some level of privacy, such as hotels, motels, and dormitories. Congregate shelters are facilities with large open spaces, such as schools, churches, and community centers.   
  2. See Section 403(b), 42 U.S.C. § 5170b(b), regarding cost shares for major disaster declarations with Public Assistance authorized; see also Section 503(a), 42 U.S.C. § 5193(a), regarding cost shares for emergency declarations authorized under Section 502, 42 U.S.C. § 5192.
  3. See FEMA Policy #104-21-0008, Transitional Sheltering Assistance, July 2021, at Requirements, Section D for initial registrant eligibility criteria.  
Last updated