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California Wildfires Myth vs. Fact IX

Release date: 
September 5, 2019
Release Number: 
DR-4407-CA FS 013

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: Survivors can sublet their FEMA housing unit to another tenant once they find permanent housing.

  • FACT: The above comment is false.
  • FACT: If an individual is subletting his or her FEMA temporary housing, that survivor is breaking the law by committing fraud. If anyone suspects fraud is being committed, they should contact the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

MYTH: People other than Camp Fire disaster survivors are living in FEMA travel trailers located in Bidwell Canyon State Park near Oroville.

  • FACT: The above comment is false.
  • 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 November 12, 2018.
  • FACT: Allowing someone who was not a member of the household prior to the disaster to reside in a FEMA trailer would be a violation of the law and would be punishable according to federal statutes.
  • FACT: Disaster survivors in temporary housing must work toward a permanent housing solution and show documentation which supports their effort every 30 days. If they fail to do so, the survivor’s eligibility for FEMA housing could be in jeopardy. All FEMA Direct Housing eligibility recertifications are completed on a month-to-month basis.
  • FACT: FEMA is currently housing more than 500 disaster survivor families in four temporary housing communities and19 commercial parks throughout Northern California.


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: 
September 5, 2019 - 18:49