Wildfire survivors must apply to extend time for FEMA rental assistance

Wildfire survivors who received an initial rental assistance award may be eligible for an extension of that after two months but must request it.

Many individuals and households who had to move after their homes were damaged or lost due to August/September wildfires in 13 counties have been receiving help from FEMA paying rent on temporary alternative housing. The counties are Lassen, Butte, Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Tulare and Yolo.

Two weeks after a household initially receives rental assistance, FEMA mails them a letter or an application for an extension. Anyone currently receiving temporary housing assistance who has not received a letter or an application and needs to continue that support may request an application for continuation by calling the FEMA Helpline at (800) 621-3362 (TTY (800) 462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. PST. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, should provide FEMA with the specific number assigned to that service when they register.

To be eligible for an extension of temporary housing assistance, survivors must demonstrate that they need it by submitting documentation to FEMA that includes:

  • A completed FEMA application for continuing rental assistance.
  • A copy of the applicant’s lease.
  • Receipts showing that rental aid already received was properly used to pay for disaster housing.
  • Report of the household’s income.
  • Report of the household’s financial obligations.

FEMA will evaluate the request to determine if the applicant is eligible for an extension. There is no guarantee of rental assistance beyond the first two months.

FEMA rental assistance may be used for a house, apartment, hotel, motel, manufactured home, recreational vehicle, houseboat or other kind of living space that is available for rent.

Rental assistance extensions must be applied for every three months with the total period of assistance for eligible survivors not to exceed 18 months from Aug. 22, 2020, the date of the major disaster declaration.

If you have questions about the process or the required documents, you may call the FEMA helpline.

FEMA cannot provide rental assistance unless survivors keep their addresses and telephone numbers up to date so they can be contacted. If your contact information changes, you can update it online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA helpline.

Nov. 21 is the deadline for residents of the 13 counties included in the Aug. 22 disaster declaration to register for FEMA assistance.

For the latest information on wildfire recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4558 and follow the FEMA Region 9 Twitter account at twitter.com/femaregion9.