BATON ROUGE, La. – If you are a renter in Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard or Terrebonne parish and sustained damage or losses from Hurricane Zeta, you may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.
These six parishes were named in a disaster declaration signed by President Trump Jan. 12. If the house or apartment you are renting is your primary residence and is in one of these parishes, you should register with FEMA to apply for grants to help with disaster-related expenses, such as:
- Renting a different dwelling when the formerly occupied one is unsafe to live in due to the hurricane;
- Hurricane-related medical and dental expenses;
- Increased cost of child-care expenses;
- Moving and storage fees;
- Replacement or repair of necessary personal property lost or damaged in the hurricane, such as appliances and furniture, textbooks and computers used by students, and work equipment or tools used by independent contractors;
- Repair or replacement of hurricane-damaged vehicles;
- Hurricane-related funeral and burial expenses, and
- Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other sources.
Rental grants may be used for security deposits, rent and the cost of essential utilities—such as gas or water. The grants may not be used to pay for separate cable or Internet bills. The grants are not loans and don’t have to be repaid. They are not taxable income and won’t affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or other public assistance programs.
If you have renter’s insurance, you should call your insurance agent to start the claims process before you contact FEMA.
There are three ways to apply for federal disaster assistance:
- Visit DisasterAssistance.gov;
- Use the FEMA mobile app, or
- Call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY) 800-462-7585 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.
Registration deadline is March 15, 2021.
Renters who face eviction or have been evicted from their storm-damaged apartment complex—whether their unit had damage or not—may be eligible for disaster assistance. Renters who have already registered for federal assistance and were evicted after they registered due to damage to other parts of their complex should call the FEMA Helpline.
Renters may also qualify for long-term, low-interest loans of up to $40,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans may be used to cover the cost of repairing or replacing essential hurricane-damaged personal property.
Renters who are deaf or hard of hearing may view an informational video with American Sign Language at youtube.com/watch?v=yAHSPK_K7tg. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should alert FEMA as to the specific number assigned to that service.