Renters, Take Note: FEMA Financial Assistance is Up for Grabs
Renters in Maui County facing damage from the devastating wildfires on August 8 now have a financial lifeline—FEMA disaster assistance is open for applications. This federal assistance is not just for homeowners but is equally accessible to renters, including college students.
Types of FEMA Assistance for Renters
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a range of grants aimed at alleviating the financial burden of natural disasters. For renters, this starts with grants designed to cover the costs of temporary housing. Typically, these rental grants are available for either a one-month or two-month period and are subject to review for possible extensions based on individual needs.
But that’s not all. Renters may also qualify for FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance program, which covers uninsured losses related to essential personal property and other disaster-induced expenses. Eligible costs can vary widely and may encompass:
- Replacement or repair of essential household items such as furniture, appliances, and clothing.
- Academic necessities like textbooks and other school supplies.
- Repair or replacement of work-related tools and equipment for self-employed individuals.
- Costs related to your primary vehicle if it was damaged by the disaster and is now inoperable (subject to state registration and insurance requirements).
- Medical, dental, childcare, moving, and storage costs that are uninsured or require out-of-pocket expenditure.
How to Apply for SBA Loans
Additionally, both renters and homeowners have the option to apply for disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans can go up to $100,000 and can be used to replace personal property such as clothing, furniture, appliances, or even cars. The first step is to apply for FEMA assistance, followed by submitting an application to the SBA.
For more details, you can visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Hawaii Wildfires page at sba.gov.
There are multiple ways to apply for FEMA disaster assistance:
- Online: Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
- Mobile App: Download and use the FEMA mobile app.
- Helpline: Call the Disaster Assistance Helpline at 800-621-3362. The helpline offers multilingual support and operates 24/7. For those using relay services like Video Relay Service or captioned telephone service, be sure to provide your specific service number when applying.
- For the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: An American Sign Language video guide on how to apply is available.
Applying for SBA Loans
To apply for SBA loans online, or to download application forms, visit DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov. You can also reach SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or via email at [email protected]. For individuals with hearing or speech impairments, the telecommunications relay service can be accessed by dialing 711.
By utilizing these federal programs, renters in Maui County affected by the wildfires can better navigate the challenging aftermath and take steps toward recovery.