Renters may be eligible for disaster assistance

Fox 8 received this new release Monday morning:

September 17, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana renters who lost their homes or personal property as a result of Hurricane Isaac may be eligible for disaster-related assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies.

Of more than 178,000 Louisianians who registered for state and FEMA assistance as of Sept. 17, a great majority report that they are homeowners. Yet renters who resided in an apartment, mobile home or leased house that was made unlivable because of severe disaster damage are also encouraged to contact FEMA.

"Hurricane Isaac didn't discriminate between homeowners and renters," said Mike Hall, FEMA's federal coordinating officer. "FEMA is here to help Louisianians who sustained damage get the money in their pockets they are eligible to receive."

Through Housing Assistance, FEMA offers two kinds of help to eligible renters:

  • Money to rent a different place to live for a limited period of time while repairs are done to a home that was made unlivable by the disaster 
  • A free referral service to find a safe replacement rental property

Both renters and homeowners may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA), designed to help survivors with uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. ONA grants can be used for:

  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses
  • Replacement or repair of necessary personal property lost or damaged in the disaster, household items such as room furnishings or appliances, and tools and equipment required by the self-employed for their jobs
  • Primary vehicles and approved second vehicles damaged by the disaster

Filling out a disaster loan application from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a necessary step for homeowners and renters to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. If the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA for some other type of disaster aid.

To qualify for any of this assistance, renters must first register with FEMA online at, via web-enabled phone at or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. For 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Those with questions about the SBA loan application should call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339. Survivors can also apply online using the electronic loan applications at

For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click or Follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at Also visit our blog at