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Fact Sheet: California Wildfires Myth vs. Fact VIII

Release date: 
August 13, 2019
Release Number: 
DR-4407-CA FS 012

The recovery work being done after the Camp Fire is enormous. It is also very complicated due to the magnitude of the devastation. These complications, in turn, create misconceptions that can be spread through the news and social media, making it difficult to separate myth from fact. In an effort to minimize survivors’ confusion and frustration, FEMA is issuing this Fact Sheet.

MYTH: FEMA housing should be used to assist the pre-disaster homeless population.

  • FACT: Under current federal law, housing units which belong to FEMA can only be used to house eligible Camp Fire survivors following the presidential disaster declaration signed on November 12, 2018.
  • FACT: FEMA has provided housing to more than 700 survivors/families at four temporary housing communities, along with commercial parks located throughout Butte County and Northern California. Survivors are currently moving into the largest of the four temporary housing communities in the Town of Gridley, which has the capacity to house up to 400 families. Hegan-Aztec, which is in the final stages of completion, will be the last to open of the four temporary housing communities being developed by FEMA. It has the capacity to house 83 survivor households.
  • FACT: Once a FEMA housing mission ends, the manufactured housing units and travel trailers are returned to a staging area and prepared for use in a future disaster.
  • FACT: Individuals who need social services can reach out to non-profit organizations, such as The American Red Cross or The Salvation Army, to determine what housing or shelter options are available. A list of other non-profit organizations is available by calling 2-1-1.

MYTH: Calling 9-1-1 could result in a survivor losing his/her FEMA housing.

  • FACT: Calling 9-1-1 to report a concern, medical emergency or suspected criminal activity is exactly what a survivor living in FEMA temporary housing should do.
  • FACT: Calling 9-1-1 does not compromise a survivor’s eligibility to reside in FEMA-provided housing.


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: 
August 13, 2019 - 20:34