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Assistance Available as Direct Lease and Rental Assistance Deadline Approaches

Release date: 
February 14, 2019
Release Number: 

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Case management services are available for survivors still receiving FEMA housing assistance.

The deadline for receiving FEMA rental assistance and the agency’s Direct Lease program is approaching. In FEMA’s Direct Lease program the agency pays property owners and property management companies directly, allowing survivors a temporary place to live while rebuilding homes or looking for permanent housing.

Survivors who are staying in the agency’s direct lease units or are recipients of rental assistance have until March 20, 2019 to find permanent housing. These programs are available up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration, which for Hurricane Maria was Sept. 20, 2017.

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners continue to repair and rebuild their hurricane-damaged properties with assistance from several sources and programs.

FEMA has provided $734 million in housing assistance, including:

  • Over $513 million has been spent for repairs and rebuilding;
  • Over $128 million has gone toward temporary rental assistance;
  • Over $11 million has been spent on FEMA’s Direct Lease program.

Another $1.7 billion in low-interest disaster loans has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration for home repairs.

The Tu Hogar Renace program, which is funded by FEMA but administered by Puerto Rico’s Department of Housing, has made emergency repairs to over 108,000 homes, at an average of $10,000 per home. Many of the repairs were done while labor and resources were in short supply throughout the island.

The VALOR (Voluntary Agencies Leading and Organizing Repair) program, which involves voluntary agencies using FEMA-funded materials, has helped repair almost 3,000 homes, at an average of $5,000 per home).

As of Feb. 6, 189 households are participating in FEMA’s direct leasing program. At its peak, a total of 367 families were in the program.

As the deadline approaches for rental assistance and Direct Lease, FEMA representatives continue to meet with survivors regularly to help them develop a housing plan. FEMA also helps connect families with organizations that offer additional resources.

These programs are not meant as a permanent housing solution for survivors. They offer temporary shelter while disaster survivors find a safe and habitable place to live. Safe and habitable is defined as: Doors, roof and windows that are structurally sound. And gas, heat, plumbing and sewer and septic systems that function properly.

For information on a case manager who can help in your municipality, visit for English or for Spanish.

Survivors can also receive additional information on housing and other recovery resources by visiting a Community Recovery Center near them. To find one in your area, go to





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-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.


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Last Updated: 
February 14, 2019 - 12:40