FEMA FAQ: Direct Housing Follow-up

(November 9, 2018) - - Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published the following information:

I completed the initial interview with FEMA and am eligible for direct housing. What happens next?
You will receive another call to collect information to determine the appropriate housing resource for you. FEMA will ask you detailed questions about your specific housing needs, the size of your property for the Manufactured Housing Unit or trailer to be placed on, household composition, and any accommodations that are required for accessibility, medical necessities and/or disabilities.

How does FEMA know where my housing will be placed?
FEMA will issue an inspection request to the contractor. The contractor will call you to schedule an appointment to meet you at your property. The call will most likely come from an unfamiliar area code. When coming to your site, the inspector will have a photo identification and a form for you to sign to allow FEMA to put the unit on your property, and to remove it when you are through using it.

What happens during the site visit?
The contractor will measure your site, check and verify what kind of unit could fit there, as well as verify utility connections and coordinates for flood zone determinations. If it is determined that the site is feasible, FEMA will issue a work order for the contractor to place a unit on your site and begin the installation process.

Will I need to do anything after the site visit?
FEMA may also ask you to contact your local permitting office and request a permit for placement of the unit and your electric service provider to ensure power availability. In addition, FEMA needs to know if you have pets. If you do, they will need to be relocated from the site during the installation for the safety of the contractors and the animals themselves.

How long will it take to install the unit?
FEMA works to provide the most efficient method to haul and install the units. Sometimes delays cannot be avoided. Weather can delay contractors’ ability to perform work, as can local inspections, utility providers, and other factors. The installation timeframe will vary based on the type of unit and any challenges that arise. The work is done as quickly as possible to provide your family with a safe, sanitary and functional place to live while repairs are being made to your home.

Can I go inside or put my belongings inside once the unit is delivered?
No, the unit is not deemed safe until the contractor has completed the entire setup and the unit has been inspected for safety. When the unit inspection is complete, you will receive a call from FEMA to schedule an appointment to sign the license-in agreement and to go over the safety features of each unit. You will sign the agreement with FEMA for use of the temporary unit and then the keys will be given to you. At that point you can move into the unit.

What if my home property is not feasible for placement of a housing unit?
FEMA is working to identify pads in commercial housing parks and can place a unit there.

I can’t get a temporary housing unit because FEMA has determined my home is in the floodway. Can I place my own travel trailer in a floodway?
FEMA cannot place a temporary housing unit in a floodway. If your site is not feasible to place a temporary housing unit, FEMA may place a temporary housing unit on a leased pad in a commercial park. If you have purchased or leased your own travel trailer, you should check with your local floodplain manager and permitting official for guidance on placement in a floodway.

I’m a local or county official. What can I do to help my residents get their units faster?
FEMA-provided housing is temporary. FEMA works hard to provide your residents with safe, secure and functional housing as quickly as possible, but FEMA needs to know local government requirements for unit placement. Working with FEMA to ensure local inspections and permit approvals are completed promptly will help ensure residents can occupy temporary housing as quickly as possible. FEMA Division Supervisors or Intergovernmental Affairs specialists are in the area and are able to answer questions or concerns.

What are the permitting issues involved?
The State of North Carolina and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding local ordinances, permitting, zoning, transportation requirements, setbacks, utility connections and inspections. FEMA must also ensure the site is compliant with applicable building codes, environmental laws and floodplain regulations.

Credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency