Renters Facing Eviction in Florida May Be Eligible for Federal Help

11/7/2018

Renters Facing Eviction in Florida May Be Eligible for Federal Help

Florida renters who face eviction or have been evicted from their storm-damaged rental homes or apartments — whether the dwelling had damage or not — may be eligible for disaster assistance from FEMA.

There are several ways to apply: 

  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Call FEMA at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) anytime from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
  • Visit a disaster recovery center. Survivors may visit any center to receive one-on-one help. To find a center, go to fema.gov/drc  

Renters who already registered for federal assistance and were later evicted due to damage should take the eviction notice to a disaster recovery center. 

Survivors who cannot afford an attorney may call the Florida Bar Disaster Hotline at (866) 550-2929. Find more information at Floridabar.org 2018 Hurricane Information.

Displaced renters and home owners from Bay, Gulf and Jackson counties who need a safe place to stay while searching for longer-term housing may be eligible for short-term sheltering stays paid by FEMA. Visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

Renters may be eligible for grants from FEMA to help with disaster-related expenses such as:

  • Renting a home when the renter’s previous one is unsafe due to the disaster, or his/her apartment complex is under repair.
  • Moving and storage fees.
  • Repair or replacement of vehicles damaged by the disaster.

Those who have HUD rental assistance may receive FEMA help to pay for a place to live until:

  • They relocate back to public housing.
  • They relocate back to the private housing that provides HUD assistance.
  • They sign a lease with a private property owner using a Section 8 voucher.

When the survivor moves back into a HUD-assisted residence or signs a new lease for a rental housing under the Section 8 program, HUD assistance resumes. At that point, the survivor may no longer receive FEMA assistance.

The grants are not loans and do not have to be repaid. They are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and several other programs. 

The president’s disaster declaration for Hurricane Michael designated 12 counties for Individual Assistance: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington.

FEMA wants to make sure that every disaster survivor has equal access to information and assistance. Renters who are deaf or hard of hearing may view a video on available assistance: FEMAAssistanceAvailable .

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For more Hurricane Michael recovery information, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4399.

Follow FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter at @FEMARegion4 and @FLSERT. You may also visit FEMA and the Division’s Facebook pages at Facebook.com/FEMA and Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.

Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2018
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