OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Oklahoma renters who lost their homes or personal property as a result of the May 10-13 storms might be missing out on assistance.
Renters may be eligible for a range of disaster-related assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies. But Oklahomans who rent may not have gotten that message.
Of the more than 1,000 Oklahomans who have registered for state and FEMA assistance, a great majority said they are homeowners.
Regardless of whether they rented an apartment, mobile home or house before the storm, renters whose homes were made unlivable because of severe damage need to contact FEMA.
"Disaster aid is not limited to homeowners," said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe "Thanks to federal and state rental-support programs, eligible Oklahomans who sustained damages in this disaster can receive the boost they need to get back on their feet."
Through its Individual and Households Program (IHP), FEMA offers two kinds of housing assistance that target eligible renters:
- Money to rent a different place to live for a limited period of time while repairs are made if the home was made unlivable by the storm.
- Free assistance in finding a replacement rental property.
Renters and homeowners alike may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA), available through the IHP and designed to help survivors with uninsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. ONA money can be used for:
- Disaster-related medical and dental expenses.
- Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.
- Replacement or repair of necessary personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, including clothing; household items such as room furnishings or appliances; and tools and equipment required by the self-employed for their jobs.
- Primary vehicles and approved second vehicles damaged by the disaster.
To qualify for any of this aid, renters must first register with FEMA in any of three ways:
- Phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for people with hearing and speech impairments.
- Log on at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), currently located in Cleveland, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties, and coming soon to Seminole, Okfuskee and Carter counties.
"The tornadoes that hit Oklahoma didn't discriminate between homeowners and renters. FEMA won't either," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton. "FEMA is here to ensure that all eligible survivors get the recovery help they need."
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against emergencies and disasters. The department delivers service to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through a network of more than 350 local emergency managers.
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.