Main Content

Fact Sheet: California Wildfires Myth vs. Fact V

Release date: 
June 12, 2019
Release Number: 
DR-4407-CA FS 009

The work being done on the Camp Fire recovery is enormous. It is also very complicated since devastation on this scale has never before happened in the State of California. These complications, in turn, create misconceptions that are sometimes spread via social and news media making it difficult to separate myth from fact. In an effort to set the record straight and minimize survivors’ confusion and frustration, FEMA is issuing this weekly report to address the most prominent falsehoods.

MYTH: Why won’t FEMA give me a new house?

  • FACT: To address the complex needs of Camp Fire survivors from Butte County, FEMA is working closely with the State of California, other federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide a variety of housing resources and options that best suit each eligible survivor’s situation. The options include: 
    • Individual Assistance grants to pay for essential home repairs.
    • Financial rental assistance to lease temporary accommodations while a survivor’s home or apartment is being repaired, or until he/she can find a permanent housing solution.
    • Development of Temporary Housing Communities throughout Butte County, which will eventually house approximately 600 households, or between 900-1200 people.
    • Leased space at 19 commercial sites throughout the region to place new FEMA-owned manufactured housing units or travel trailers for survivors to live in until they can find permanent housing.
    • Approximately 637 households have used Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) to secure hotel and motel rooms while searching for interim or permanent housing solutions.
  • FACT: The housing program assists eligible Camp Fire survivors whose permanent home or apartment has sustained major damage and is no longer safe, sanitary and functional. Survivors must also work toward a permanent housing solution. For more information on the program’s criteria, go to:
  • FACT: FEMA has disbursed more than $80 million to Butte County homeowners and renters where the Camp Fire destroyed nearly 19,000 structures.

MYTH: Every FEMA housing option has an 18-month lease.

  • FACT: FEMA’s program for temporary housing may provide survivors with assistance for up to 18 months from the date a Presidential Disaster Declaration is approved, but that does not mean housing is provided for 18 months.
  • FACT: Once a survivor takes possession of a FEMA unit, he/she is required to do three things every 30 days:
    • Demonstrate a continued need for housing assistance.
    • Recertify their eligibility.
    • Show he/she is making progress toward a permanent housing solution.
  • FACT: Survivors reside in FEMA housing on a month-by-month, case-by-case basis.

MYTH: A crisis counseling option for Camp Fire survivors living outside the burn area, or for those living outside of California doesn’t exist.

  • FACT: A 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline provides immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.
    • The toll-free, multilingual and confidential crisis-support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories.
    • Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
    • Call (800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.


All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Last Updated: 
June 12, 2019 - 19:42