Time is running out... Hurricane Harvey survivors remaining in FEMA-funded Temporary Housing Units need to submit rent reduction requests before Feb. 25th deadline
Rate could be reduced as low as $50 per month - if eligible
AUSTIN — Hurricane Harvey survivors currently living in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded temporary housing units (THUs) who wish to remain in their units past Feb. 25, 2019, will be required to begin paying rent after that date. Households that cannot afford Fair Market Rent may have their rate reduced as low as $50 per month. Rent reduction appeals will not be accepted after Monday, Feb. 25.
FEMA's temporary housing program was originally planned to run through Feb. 25, 2019. However, on Nov. 28, 2018, Commissioner George P. Bush announced FEMA granted his request for a six-month extension for Hurricane Harvey survivors still residing in federally funded manufactured housing units and travel trailers. Although the housing program has been extended through Aug. 25, 2019, those who remain in the program after Feb. 25 will be required by FEMA to pay rent. Survivors who cannot afford fair-market rent are able to petition for a reduction by contacting FEMA. Eligible households received a letter from FEMA including information about the costs related to the extension. Households that cannot afford Fair Market Rent, however, may have their rate reduced as low as $50 per month.
How is Rent Determined?
Rent is based on the fair market rate (FMR) of comparable rental properties in the area. FEMA staff is working with survivors to determine how much rent they can afford based on their incomes and current housing expenses such as mortgage payments on their pre-disaster residence. Survivors who cannot afford the rent can petition for a rent reduction by contacting FEMA. Appeals and supporting documentation regarding rent must be returned to FEMA via postal mail, fax, or by giving the appropriate documentation to their recertification caseworker before Feb. 25, 2019.
FEMA uses U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines to determine a homeowner's eligibility for reduced rent. HUD defines low-income families as those with incomes not exceeding 80 percent of the median family income for the area.
When FEMA approves a reduction, the rent amount is based on the THU occupant's financial ability to pay. Several factors are used to calculate rental requirements for those seeking a reduced rate, such as the household size, housing expenses and adjusted income for all adult occupants.
FEMA uses a streamlined process for the rental rate-appeal process, allowing THU occupants to submit self-certified pre-disaster documentation. Pre-disaster income and housing cost information is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Occupants must continue to make progress on their permanent housing plan to remain eligible for the temporary housing program, including during the extension period when rental payments are required.
Occupants who have questions about renting THUs can get more information and connect with a case manager by emailing email@example.com.
FEMA THU Sales Program
Also at the request of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, FEMA granted a THU Sales to Occupants program for Hurricane Harvey survivors still residing in federally funded manufactured housing units and travel trailers. Now certain Harvey survivors in THUs have been offered the opportunity to purchase their current unit. The sales offer is only good for 30 days after the notification letter was sent to the occupant. To be eligible to purchase a THU, the survivor must lack a permanent housing solution, through no fault of their own.
Each THU's sale price will be determined by FEMA based on the unit type, number of bedrooms and number of months the applicant lived in the unit. Applicants who are unable to afford the sale price may appeal the cost to FEMA.
Occupants who have questions about purchasing THUs can call 855-336-2003 or fax 512-490-1248.
For additional information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit FEMA's Hurricane Harvey disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4332, Facebook at Facebook.com/FEMAHarvey, the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at Twitter.com/FEMARegion6 or the Texas General Land Office website at Recovery.Texas.Gov.
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