Travel Trailers as a Direct Housing Option for Some Eligible Survivors

Release Date Release Number
DR-4337-FL FS 020
Release Date:
October 30, 2017

Eligible applicants in authorized counties (Collier, Hendry, Lee and Monroe) whose primary residence is uninhabitable as a direct result of damage from Hurricane Irma may receive Direct Temporary Housing Assistance from FEMA.

FEMA, in partnership with state and local governments, may provide Direct Temporary Housing Assistance in the form of travel trailers to eligible applicants.

Travel trailers are temporary living quarters that can be towed by a light duty truck. They are fully licensed, on wheels or a jacking system, attached to the site only by quick disconnect-type utilities and secured.

Travel Trailer Conditions of Eligibility

  • The process for determining a survivor’s eligibility for direct housing begins by registering with FEMA for disaster assistance.

  • Survivors cannot apply directly for Direct Housing.

  • FEMA will call survivors if they are eligible for direct housing.

  • A survivor’s primary residence must be in a county that has been authorized for direct housing.

  • Survivors who have no other options for temporary housing may be eligible for direct housing in the form of a travel trailer on a month-to-month basis for up to 6 months.

  • FEMA will determine, based on the household’s needs, which temporary housing unit will be provided for eligible applicants: travel trailer or other form of temporary housing. The installation of a travel trailer must comply with local and state ordinances and permitting requirements.   

Site Types

FEMA may place units on private property or existing commercial parks.  Units may be placed in floodplains if there is no other safer alternative, but they can never be placed in floodways or high hazard coastal areas. Any placement of travel trailers must comply with all state and local ordinances as well as zoning and permitting requirements.

Once the unit is installed, a representative of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) inspects it and makes any required repairs to make sure utilities and all appliances work before moving the survivor into the unit.

  • Private Sites: Homeowners’ privately owned property with access to utilities when there is adequate space to accommodate a unit with their damaged home. When a survivor wants a unit placed on a private site, FEMA must inspect the site to ensure it meets requirements including access to water, sewer, electricity and flood zone rating. It must also have access to allow FEMA to safely deliver and install the travel trailer. The survivor is responsible for obtaining permits from the local authorities.

  • Commercial Sites: FEMA works with local, state and federal resources to identify possible commercial parks. Considerations include proximity to wrap-around services such as schools, work, shopping, places of worship and medical services. FEMA makes every effort to contract with commercial sites as close to the survivor’s community as possible. When sites are not available, it may be necessary to secure pads in commercial parks across a county line but within a reasonable commuting distance.

FEMA works with commercial parks to identify pads available for use to install travel trailers for survivors for the entire period of assistance. In some parts of Florida, Hurricane Irma destroyed pads and infrastructure in many commercial sites. FEMA negotiated with park owners to pay for repairs to make the sites functional and bring the infrastructure up to code. Those costs will be recovered through reduced lease rates for the pads.

 Occupying a Travel Trailer

  • Once a unit has been installed, FEMA will call the applicant to arrange a move-in day.

  • The applicant must be available for licensing-in (turning over the keys).

  • Part of the FEMA license agreement for a travel trailer requires the applicant to search for long-term housing options. Every 30 days FEMA evaluates each applicant’s eligibility to remain in the unit.

  • If the applicant’s housing needs change, they should call FEMA at 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585. For 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

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Last updated March 18, 2021