The State of North Carolina and FEMA are implementing a multi-pronged approach to temporarily house displaced survivors of Hurricane Florence. Solutions are tailored to the individual needs of survivors and are based on how quickly their homes can be repaired to a safe, sanitary and functional condition and the availability of housing options in their communities.
What is Direct Temporary Housing Assistance?
Based upon the needs identified by the State of North Carolina, FEMA is providing two forms of Direct Temporary Housing Assistance in 10 counties: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson.
- Travel Trailers provide a timely, effective interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs to their home can be completed in less than a year, ideally within six months.
- Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete due to a greater degree of damage.
What if my county is not listed for direct housing?
FEMA has determined there are sufficient rental resources in your area. Financial assistance provided by FEMA can, and should, be used to rent or lease interim housing while repairs are being made to your home. It is important to keep receipts and update your current mailing address with FEMA. The counties eligible for direct housing have been determined to have insufficient rental resources and a significant number of homes with more than $17,000 of FEMA verified real property damage.
Do I have to do anything to let FEMA know I need housing?
If you are displaced from your home because of Hurricane Florence you must first apply for federal disaster assistance to be considered for FEMA programs such as Transitional Sheltering Assistance, financial rental assistance, grants for repairs to make their homes safe, sanitary and functional, and other forms of assistance.
You can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, by using the FEMA app, by visiting a disaster recovery center, or by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available by request by calling or texting 202-655-8824. To access a video in American Sign Language, go online to www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/172199.
How will I know if I am eligible for this type of housing?
FEMA contacts households that may qualify for a travel trailer or MHU. A FEMA specialist will conduct a pre-placement interview to determine whether you need direct housing and, if so, what type of housing you require. This determination is based on the size and needs of the household, including any people with disabilities or other access or functional needs.
Will FEMA place a travel trailer or MHU on my property?
If you are eligible, FEMA may be able to place a unit on your property. FEMA must ensure the site is compliant with applicable local ordinances, building codes, environmental laws and floodplain regulations. If that is not possible, FEMA will lease pads in commercial parks. FEMA cannot place units in the following Special Flood Hazard Areas: V, VE, CBRA, Floodway.
How quickly can the housing be provided?
Once a site is determined feasible, FEMA will issue a work order to have a unit delivered and installed at the site. The installation process includes:
- Anchoring of the unit
- Utilities hookup
- Compliance with local permitting
The State of North Carolina and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding local ordinances, permitting, zoning, transportation requirements, setbacks, utility connections and occupancy inspections. Once installation of the unit is complete, an occupancy inspection will take place. When the unit passes inspection, it is ready for occupancy. At that point, you will sign a license-in agreement to occupy the unit.
How long can I stay in the housing?
Direct housing is temporary. These units are not permanent dwellings. FEMA staff will meet with you monthly to determine continued eligibility and assist you in developing a permanent housing plan. FEMA Housing Assistance, both financial and direct, can be provided for up 18 months from the Sept. 14, 2018 date of the disaster declaration if you demonstrate a continuing need and if you are working on a permanent housing plan.
FEMA specialists work closely with displaced survivors on their housing needs and keep them up-to-date on program details and deadlines with face-to-face meetings, phone calls and letters. Housing program eligibility—and continued occupancy—is determined on a regular schedule for homeowners and renters. To remain eligible, occupants must show they are making continuing progress on their permanent housing plan.
How does FEMA determine whether a travel trailer or an MHU is most appropriate?
Travel trailers provide a timely, effective interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs can be completed in less than a year, ideally within six months. For these units, FEMA prioritizes homeowners (excluding mobile homes) with verified real property losses between $17,000 and $34,000. However, travel trailers may not be an acceptable housing option for survivors with restricted mobility, or those whose homes are in Special Flood Hazard Areas where risk is characterized by rapid flash flooding.
MHUs provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete. For these units, FEMA prioritizes homeowners with verified real property losses greater than $34,000 or mobile homes with $17,000 or more. MHUs are also available in models that are compliant with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards to accommodate eligible survivors who require these units to meet their access and functional needs. MHUs are typically the option FEMA considers in some Special Flood Hazard Areas because they can be anchored and elevated to reduce risk.
Can I move a unit after it is installed?
No, for safety reasons FEMA temporary housing units may not be moved while assigned to an applicant.
Where does FEMA get the housing units?
FEMA will use its existing inventory to supply MHUs required for this disaster. Travel trailers will be purchased from commercial vendors because of their widespread availability on the commercial market and their relative speed of delivery and installation compared to MHUs.
FEMA will work with the National Recreation Vehicle Inspectors Association to ensure travel trailers purchased by FEMA are safe, high quality and function properly.