SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the government of Puerto Rico announced today a wide range of housing options for Puerto Ricans displaced by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In order to meet the demand for safe housing, these forms of assistance are provided directly to disaster survivors, or through financial grants to assist survivors with their housing needs.
Survivors first need to register with FEMA to determine their eligibility for any available federal assistance online at http://disasterassistance.gov, by calling toll-free (800) 621-3362 (voice 711/VRS). TTY call (800) 462-7585, or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To find an open DRC, survivors may phone their municipality. DRCs are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Housing Resources Provided Directly to Disaster Survivors
Tu Hogar Renace (Your Home Reborn): Managed by the government of Puerto Rico, a homeowner’s primary residence may be eligible for necessary repairs to return the home to safe, habitable and functional conditions. Work includes repairs to keep roofs from leaking, replacement of damaged windows and doors, repairs to damaged walls, and water heaters.
Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA): Transitional Sheltering Assistance is available with prioritization on those who are currently in congregate shelters because their homes were severely damaged. Under the program, survivors who are currently staying within the Continental U.S. may be eligible to stay in participating hotels or motels in the United States for the period of time specified by the government of Puerto Rico and FEMA. To find a participating hotel, disaster survivors should visit http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php.
Blue Roof Program: Operation Blue Roof, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provides a temporary covering of reinforced blue plastic sheeting over the damaged roof to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made.
Direct Lease: Vacant units are leased by FEMA and are used as temporary housing for disaster survivors. FEMA pays the rent for these units. Utility costs and other expenses not covered in the lease are the responsibility of the disaster survivor. Property owners interested in participating can email FEMA-Lease-PR@fema.dhs.gov.
Multi-Family Lease and Repair (MLR): FEMA identifies and prepares existing, vacant rental properties to house survivors in multi-family residential units. Vacant units are leased by FEMA and are used as temporary housing for disaster survivors. FEMA pays the rent for these units. Utility costs and other expenses are the responsibility of the disaster survivor. Property owners interested in participating can email FEMA-MLR-PR@fema.dhs.gov.
Financial Assistance Available to Disaster Survivors for Housing Needs
Rental Assistance: FEMA will provide funds directly to disaster survivors, who are then responsible for finding available rental resources of their choosing.
Home Repairs: Financial grant to help make minimal repairs to a primary residence, utilities, and residential structure, including privately-owned access routes (driveways, roads, or bridges) to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.
Other Needs Assistance (ONA): Financial grant for uninsured or underinsured, disaster-related, necessary expenses and serious needs. This may include housing related expenses other than rent, such as repair or replacement of household appliances and furnishings, uniforms, tools and equipment required for your job, school books and supplies.
Low Interest Disaster Loans: The U.S. Small Business Administration, provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to help homeowners and renters with personal property, transportation, and moving and storage expenses incurred due to a declared disaster.
Immediate Foreclosure Relief: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages.
Mortgage Insurance and Home Rehabilitation: HUD provides FHA insurance to disaster survivors who lost their homes and who need to rebuild or buy another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs.
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)
(TTY: 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.
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