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How Do I Find a Place to Stay?

This page contains resources if you have been evacuated or displaced and cannot return to your home.  Voluntary, faith-based, and community-based organizations may provide immediate short term housing with emergency shelters.  For longer term housing needs after a disaster FEMA may assist with several types of assistance.

Short Term Shelter

For immediate housing needs, the American Red Cross and other voluntary, faith-based, and community-based organizations set up shelters for people who cannot return to their homes.  Listen to your radio or watch local media for the location of the nearest shelter.

You can use the normal text message functionality on your phone to search for open shelters: text SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362.  For Spanish text REFUGIO and your zip code. (Standard text message rates apply.)  You can also download the FEMA Mobile App to find open shelters. You may also contact 211, if available in your area.

Before you go to a shelter, always check for availability and services.  Searching for shelters will not add you to a list. Think of it like doing a search on the Internet.

For health and space reasons, pets are generally not permitted in public emergency shelters.  Contact your local emergency management office or your local animal shelter or humane society to see if there is a shelter set up to take pets in an emergency.

Remember if you are evacuating yourself and your family, to have a Family Emergency Plan that includes sheltering.

Housing Needs

For those who have short or long term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of Individual Disaster Assistance, including Temporary Housing Assistance, Lodging Expense Reimbursement, and other services and grants to help individuals and families repair their homes and find replacement housing.

To be eligible for most FEMA assistance:

  • The home must be your primary residence.
  • You must meet basic eligibility criteria for FEMA programs.
  • Because of the disaster you must be unable to live in your home, or your home is inaccessible, or your home is destroyed.
  • The insurance covering the home does not fully cover your additional living expense, loss of use, and/or home repairs.

If you are displaced by the disaster, or your home was damaged Apply for assistance.

For information about past and present programs and resources visit the Disaster Housing Resource Center.

Last Updated: 
07/12/2019 - 09:52