SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Federal, state and local partners have collaborated to provide direct housing solutions to individuals and families impacted by the 2018 California wildfires. The following questions and answers address common questions regarding MHUs and FEMA temporary housing communities.
1. Q: Who is eligible to reside in a FEMA temporary housing 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 housing community exist?
A: FEMA housing assistance for the temporary housing community may be provided for a period of up to 18 months beginning on November 12, 2018, the date of the President's Major Disaster declaration, and ending on May 12, 2020 for FEMA-4407-DR-CA.
3. Q: Will the MHUs and infrastructure be removed from a temporary housing community by FEMA?
A: Yes. The MHUs will be removed. FEMA will leave behind any installed infrastructure that is installed during the temporary housing community buildout.
4. Q: Will FEMA assign survivors to housing locations in Butte County and the surrounding area based upon 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 be placed to meet the needs of survivors. FEMA also works with the individual survivor to place that individual/family according to their identified needs. FEMA expects applicants to accept the first offer of available 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 and Receipt for Government Property (Revocable License) Agreement can stay in your MHU with you. With FEMA’s approval, you may be able to add or remove occupants from your Revocable License Agreement within 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 Direct Temporary Housing Assistance eligibility for the entire period of assistance is subject to the occupant continuing 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 always wear ID tags and be up to date on their shots. Pets cannot be left unattended outside of the MHU and must always be leashed. 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 electric, water, sewer, and trash/recycling to all temporary housing communities; the contracts for these services will be managed by FEMA. If you were to lose power or have any other electrical issues inside the unit, notify the Temporary Housing Community management office located on the property. If outside business hours, call the maintenance number provided in your unit.
Cable, internet and telephone will be the responsibility of the applicant, if you lose cable or internet service, 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 cdss.ca.gov.