BATON ROUGE, La. – FEMA and the State of Louisiana are working hard together to ensure that survivors of Hurricane Ida living in hard-hit parishes have safe places to stay temporarily while they take steps to recover.
To help address the shortage of sheltering and housing options in Southeast Louisiana, the state is establishing some temporary solutions, including a non-congregate sheltering program using recreational vehicles, such as travel trailers. Non-congregate shelters are locations where an individual or family can live safely with some level of privacy. This program will focus on the most heavily impacted parishes, providing some immediate sheltering assistance until FEMA’s Direct Housing program is fully underway.
A call center will be opening early next week for residents who are interested in the state-run sheltering option. Survivors will be able to find the call center number on GetAGamePlan.org once it is established. Public notification will also be made once the call center is open.
FEMA has approved direct temporary housing assistance for 10 of the most impacted parishes: Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Plaquemines, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne. This program makes available several additional short-term housing solutions to Louisiana survivors. However, options under this program may take months to complete as there is often some level of site and floodplain assessment, utility installation and construction, among other things, before they are available. This is why the state’s more immediate temporary sheltering program is such a critical bridge to recovery.
The Direct Housing program is comprised of three primary options:
- Temporary Housing Units such as a travel trailer or manufactured home;
- Direct Lease, which is leasing existing ready-for-occupancy housing; and
- Multi-Family Lease and Repair, where FEMA enters into a lease agreement with the owner of multi-family rental properties (i.e., two or more units) and makes repairs in order to provide temporary housing for applicants.
Direct temporary housing is not an immediate solution for a survivor's interim and longer-term housing needs because it takes significant time to implement. Additionally, not everyone impacted by Ida will be eligible for direct housing. Therefore, it is important that partners at all levels – local, state, other federal, nonprofit and private sector – work together to fill any gaps.
Survivors who have applied with FEMA for assistance do not need to reapply to be eligible for Direct Housing. If a survivor has not yet applied with FEMA, they can do so by going to DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.
While non-congregate sheltering and Direct Housing solutions are made available to survivors most in need, there are things affected Louisianans can do to ensure they have a safe place to stay. Survivors should create their own sheltering and housing plan. Knowing their recovery goals enables survivors to take steps in the right direction to get there.
FEMA financial help remains the primary means of helping survivors. This aid may include rental assistance, which is money for eligible survivors to temporarily rent another place to live, such as a house, apartment, hotel or motel room, or travel trailer while repairs are being made to their primary residences. Many people may also be referred to one of our partner agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Survivors eligible for FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program should continue to take advantage of that assistance until another solution becomes available.
If survivors need immediate housing, they can text LAShelter to 898211 or dial 2-1-1 to locate a shelter. All shelters in the state use COVID-19 safety measures and are supplied with COVID kits. There, survivors will be safe and have access to counselors who can support them with their next steps.
Importantly, survivors need to stay in touch with FEMA as their plans and contact information change. When phone numbers or mailing addresses change, FEMA can’t reach you. So, after you apply for disaster assistance, you need to let FEMA know each time your information changes. Individuals and households may be eligible for different programs as they move forward with their recovery.