FEMA Rental Assistance Information for Irma Survivors and for Homeowners Who Want to Rent to Survivors

Hurricane Irma left many people without homes in the Florida Keys. Some of the displaced people have received or have been approved for FEMA rental assistance grants, which cover the first two months.

Monroe County’s Irma housing task force worked with FEMA to increase the “continued” rental assistance provided to disaster survivors.

FEMA recently approved rental assistance of a cap up to 300 percent the FY 2018 Fair Market Rent Figures, beginning in the third month – and provided the disaster survivor continues to meet FEMA criteria and have exhausted the initial rental assistance on temporary housing.

Under the increased rates: FEMA will pay monthly rental assistance up to $2880 for an efficiency; $3,417 for a 1-bedroom; $4,542 for a 2-bedroom; $5,742 for a 3-bedroom; and $7,542 for a 4-bedroom. The increased assistance will help disaster survivors to pay for the limited available Keys’ rentals, which primarily are second homes and vacation rental properties.

To assist in this temporary housing solution, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners has adopted an ordinance to providing a temporary exemption from paying the 4 cent tourist development tax and the 1 cent tourist impact tax (bed taxes) for rentals to residents displaced by Hurricane Irma.

I am a homeowner and would like to rent to a disaster-survivor household in the Keys. What can I do?

Monroe County is reaching out to property owners who may have safe housing available for rent at least 30 days, for residents who also are core members of the Florida Keys workforce (fire rescue, police officers, landscapers, teachers, nurses, tourism service workers, cooks, servers, government employees, etc.). Not only do these survivors need an immediate, temporary place to live to rebuild their own lives, but housing also helps the survivors return to work to help rebuild our community.

In Monroe County, it is legal to rent your home for periods of more than 30 days without a special permit. To do so, you can register your home with a local realtor or on various websites, including but not limited to:

Homeaway.comHomes.comRentalhomes.comRentalsFloridaKeys.comVRBO.com and Zillow.com.

You can also register your rental listing on the keysrecovery.org website, under “List Your Rental Property” on the right-hand side of the site. Those individual listings will then be posted on the keysrecovery.org website.

How can Hurricane Irma Survivors who already have FEMA approved rental assistance find a monthly property to lease?

It is up to the recipient of the rental assistance grants to find their own housing. You can do so in a variety of ways, including going to a local realtor or finding a property on line. You can also search in the next few days on a list that is just being formed on keysrecovery.org.

PLEASE NOTE: Rental links and rental listings are posted on the keysreovery.org website in an effort to provide information regarding available rental opportunities to Monroe County residents in need of housing following Hurricane Irma. The County has not screened nor does it endorse any individual agency or property listing.

How can Hurricane Irma survivors get FEMA Rental Assistance in Monroe County?

The first step: Homeowners and renters who suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Irma should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for possible federal disaster assistance. DEADLINE: Nov. 9.

The quickest way to apply for federal assistance is online at www.disasterassistance.gov or through a smartphone or tablet at www.fema.gov/apply-assistance. You can call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362.

Or you can apply in person at four Disaster Recovery Centers in the Keys:

·        MARATHON: 6805 Overseas Highway

·        ISLAMORADA: Fire Station #20, 81850 Overseas Hwy

·        BIG PINE KEY: Former Bank of America Building, 30572 Overseas Highway

·        KEY WEST: 3126 Flagler Ave

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

FEMA will contact people approved for rental assistance and provide them with the parameters of that assistance. The survivors must find their own places to rent.

How do Hurricane Irma Survivors get Continued Rental Assistance?

If you registered with FEMA and are receiving rental assistance through the Individual and Households Program (IHP), you may be eligible to apply for continued rental assistance.

FEMA will mail you a letter or an application two weeks after you initially received rental assistance. The letter will advise you on how to contact FEMA to continue temporary rental assistance.

If you have not received a letter or application and you need to continue receiving temporary housing assistance, you may request one by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362.

Submit the following paperwork to FEMA to demonstrate your ongoing need for disaster-related housing assistance:

·        A copy of your lease.

·        Receipts showing the proper use of federal disaster housing assistance.

·        Current household income status.

·        Any household financial obligations.

FEMA will evaluate your request for additional rental assistance to determine if you are eligible for it to be extended, but there is no guarantee of rental assistance past the first two months.

Rental assistance extensions run for three-month periods not to exceed 18 months from the date of the declaration as long as you remain eligible. If you have questions about the process or the required documents, you may call the FEMA helpline or go to one of the disaster recovery centers in the Keys.

It’s important to keep FEMA updated with your contact information and housing status. You can update your information online at disasterassistance.gov, by calling the FEMA helpline or going to one of the disaster recovery centers in the Keys.

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