Main Content

The Five Steps of Housing Recovery

Release date: 
October 23, 2017
Release Number: 
R2 DR-4339-PR NR029

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Assistance is available for all residents of Puerto Rico whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. There are two things you need to do right away: Find out if your property and/or belongings are covered by insurance and apply for disaster assistance by registering with FEMA. Available aid may include grants to help homeowners and renters pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacements and other serious disaster-related needs insurance doesn't cover. FEMA encourages survivors to know the five steps to housing recovery.

1)    Register for assistance:
There are several ways survivors impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria can register for FEMA assistance:

  • Online at: www.DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). TDD call 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). Lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
  • Visit an open Disaster Recovery Center. Check the FEMA website for exact locations. Centers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Download the FEMA app, available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices. From there, click on the “Disaster Resources” tab.

2)    Call insurance company or mortgage lender:
If you have a mortgage, chances are your home is covered by insurance. If you aren’t sure, call your mortgage lender and ask for the details of your policy. Then notify your insurance provider of any damages that resulted from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

3)    Have a tenant/landlord agreement (lease) and save rental receipts:
Ensure the money you receive from FEMA is used for its intended purpose. If you receive money for rental assistance, keep a written copy of your landlord/tenant agreement (lease) and receipts of all payments. If you pay to stay somewhere, your written landlord/tenant agreement (lease) should include the time frame you use the assistance.

4)    FEMA tarps and Blue Roofs program:
FEMA tarps and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Blue Roofs are temporary repair solutions for your home. You can get free FEMA tarps at regional staging areas or points of distribution. Call 1-888-766-3258, or visit the FEMA website for more information on the Blue Roof Program.

5)    Clean home and remove storm debris:
Don’t wait for a FEMA inspector to arrive before cleaning up your house after the storm. However, take pictures before removing debris or cleaning up your property. Look out for mold and clean with bleach-based products.

a graphic on 5 ways to housing recovery
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.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). TDD call 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish).

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters, which can cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Join the conversation with FEMA on social media. Follow us at: www.fema.gov/hurricane-maria  
www.facebook.com/femapuertorico  
www.twitter.com/femaregion2

Get updated information and help us tell your story. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 11:59