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FAQ: Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) and FEMA Group Sites

Release date: 
February 20, 2019
Release Number: 
DR-4407-CA FAQ 004

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Federal, state and local partners have collaborated to provide direct housing solutions to individuals and families most severely impacted by the 2018 California wildfires. The following questions and answers address common questions regarding MHUs and FEMA group sites.

1. Q: Who is eligible to reside in a FEMA temporary group site community?

A: An individual must meet general conditions to be eligible to receive FEMA housing assistance:

  • FEMA must be able to verify the applicant's identity.
  • The applicant’s necessary expenses and serious needs are directly caused by a declared disaster.
  • The applicant proof of occupancy (renter) or ownership (owner).
  • Housing damage or loss must be verified by FEMA through the onsite inspection.

2. Q: How long does a temporary group site community exist?

A: FEMA housing assistance for the temporary group site may be provided for a period of up to 18 monthsbeginning on November 12, 2018, the date of the President's Major Disaster declaration, and ending on May12, 2020 for FEMA-4407-DR-CA.

3. Q: Will the MHUs and infrastructure be removed from a group site by FEMA?

A: Yes. The MHU will be removed. FEMA will leave behind any installed infrastructure that is installedduring the site buildout.

4. Q: Will FEMA assign survivors to housing locations in Butte County and the surrounding area basedupon their individual needs? (Medical needs, employment needs, transportation needs, etc.)

A: Yes, FEMA works with city, state and other federal agencies to identify appropriate sites for MHUs to beplaced to meet the needs of survivors. FEMA also works with the individual survivor to place thatindividual/family according to their identified needs. FEMA expects applicants to accept the first offer ofavailable alternate housing that meets their household’s needs.

5. Q: Who can stay with me in my MHU?

A: Only those individuals named on your FEMA Manufactured Housing Unit Revocable License andReceipt for Government Property (Revocable License) Agreement can stay in your MHU with you. WithFEMA’s approval, you may be able to add or remove occupants from your Revocable License Agreementwithin seven days of signing.

6. Q: Do I have any other responsibilities regarding my MHU?

A: FEMA re-evaluates an applicant’s eligibility on a periodic basis, usually monthly, and the DirectTemporary Housing Assistance eligibility for the entire period of assistance is subject to the occupantcontinuing to meet recertification requirements.

  • Applicants must actively work towards making or achieving a long-term housing plan.
  • Applicants must accept long term housing options if made available. 
  • An applicant may need to surrender the MHU if a long-term housing option is turned down. 
  • Applicants must adhere to all terms and conditions of the license agreement.

7. Q: How are FEMA applicants screened to ensure an individual is a disaster survivor?

A: An applicant must have applied for assistance from FEMA; proven occupancy of a dwelling that was destroyed or suffered major damages within and directly caused by the event; and FEMA has determined there are no other housing resources to meet the family’s needs.

8. Q: How will FEMA address applicants who commit criminal activities (e.g., drugs, trespassing, alcohol, noise or nuisance activities)?

A: All occupants must agree to comply with FEMA’s rules, terms, and conditions for occupying the Temporary Housing Unit (THU) before they move in by signing FEMA’s Revocable License Agreement. The Revocable License Agreement documents the applicant’s acceptance of government property for temporary housing based on FEMA’s terms and conditions included in the license. When applicants fail to comply with FEMA’s rules, terms, and conditions, FEMA may terminate their eligibility to remain in the THU.

9. Q: How are FEMA applicants screened to ensure they are not criminals or individuals with criminal backgrounds?

A: FEMA does not deny housing assistance based on criminal history.

10. Q: Are any items or substances prohibited in and around my MHU?

A: Any items or substances related to illegal or criminal activity are prohibited in and around your MHU. Additionally, you cannot store or use grills, fire pits, fireworks, propane tanks or other combustible substances inside or outside of your MHU.

Despite cannabis laws in the various states, cannabis is illegal under federal law. The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811). Under federal law, cannabis is treated like every other controlled substance, such as cocaine and heroin. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. Therefore, cannabis activity in and around FEMA housing is a violation of federal law and would be a basis for federal criminal and/or civil action.

11. Q: Does FEMA revoke an individual’s Revocable License Agreement when that individual stays beyond their approved license date?

A: FEMA reserves the right to take possession of the unit if the occupant is non-compliant or in violation of the Revocable License Agreement. Violations may result in penalty fees and or termination of the agreement.

12. Q: Can I keep my pets in my MHU?

A: You can keep up to two domesticated animals (cat or dog) in your MHU. They must wear ID tags at all times and be up to date on their shots. Pets cannot be left unattended outside of the MHU and must be leashed at all times. No pens or kennels are allowed outside of the MHU. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pet, both inside and outside of your MHU.

As well, clause "Q" of the Direct Temporary Licensing Agreement addresses vicious animals.

13. Q: How many parking spots are allocated to each MHU?

A: One assigned parking spot per MHU. Guest parking will also be available.

14. Q: What happens if I lose power to my MHU?

A: FEMA is providing power and all utilities to all group sites. Power and electricity for the Gridley site will be managed by FEMA through the GSA lease of contracted services. If you lose power, notify the Group site management office located on the property. If outside business hours, call the maintenance number provided.

If you lose cable or internet, call your service provider directly.

15. Q: Will I get a washer and dryer?

A: While washers and dryers can be hooked-up in the MHU, you will have to purchase or provide those appliances yourself.

16. Q: I want cable and internet in my MHU. How should I get them installed?

A: FEMA does not pay for cable or internet services. You can start by calling your preferred provider to see if they install cable and internet in mobile homes. If they do, then they are authorized to drill holes necessary for running cable in accordance with their normal installation procedure. If your provider charges an installation fee, you are responsible for paying it. You are also responsible for all monthly and one-time only charges associated with the installation of cable and internet for the MHU.

17. Q: Can my cable provider install a satellite dish or receiver on my MHU?

A: Satellite dishes and receivers cannot be installed on your MHU. Your provider must install the dish or receiver using a separate, temporary pole. You are responsible for any additional fees associated with the installation.

18. Q: Does my MHU come with a security system?

A: FEMA MHUs are not equipped with a security system. If you need a security system installed, you must contact FEMA for written approval to install a security system.

19. Q: What happens if there is an issue with the MHU or an appliance in the MHU?

A: FEMA conducts periodic monthly inspections to make sure the stove, fridge, and heating/air conditioning system work properly, the unit sits level on its blocks, pipes have no leaks, and the doors do not jam, among other things. If you have issues with an appliance or the MHU, call 800-335-8546.

20. Q: Can I paint my MHU or hang picture frames?

A: Painting or otherwise altering the interior or exterior appearance of your MHU is not allowed. However, you can make small adjustments that would qualify as normal wear-and-tear, such as putting small nails in the wall to hang picture frames.

21. Q: Can I landscape around my MHU?

A: You must contact FEMA for written approval prior to landscaping.

22. Q: What resources are available to survivors when it comes to food assistance?

A: FEMA's Individuals and Households Program does not provide food assistance. Persons affected by a disaster and who need food assistance can apply for benefits through the CalFresh Program. For information, call 877-847-3663 or visit benefitscal.org. For more CalFresh information, visit the California Department of Social Services website.

Last Updated: 
February 20, 2019 - 19:38