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Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:11

FEMA: Transitional Shelter Assistance

FEMA may provide Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) to applicants who are unable to return to their pre-disaster primary residence because their home is either unihabitaable or inaccessible due to a Presidentially-declared disaster. TSA is intended to reduce the number of disaster survivors in congregate shelters by transitioning survivors into short-term accomodations through direct payments to lodging providers. TSA does not count toward an applicant’s maximum amount of assistance available under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP).

TSA is funded under Section 403 of the Stafford Act and is subject to a state cost-share. The State may request that FEMA authorize the use of TSA for the declared disaster in specific geographic areas.

The affected state, territorial, or tribal government may request TSA. This form of assistance may be considered when the scale and projected duration of the declared incident results in an extended displacement of disaster survivors. The state, territorial, or tribal government, in coordination with FEMA, identifies areas that are inaccessible or that incurred damage which prevents disaster survivors from returning to their pre-disaster primary residence for an extended period of time.

Under TSA, disaster survivors may be eligible to stay in an approved hotel or motel for a limited period of time and have the cost of the room and taxes covered by FEMA. For those who are eligible, FEMA will authorize and fund, through direct payments to participating hotels/ motels, the use of hotels/motels as transitional shelters.  The applicant is responsible for all other costs associated with lodging and amenities, including, but not limted to  incidental room charges or amenities, such as telephone, room service, food, etc.

The initial period of assistance will be 5-14 (adjustable to 30 days, if needed) days from date of TSA implementation. FEMA, in conjunction with the state, territorial, or tribal government, may extend this period of assistance, if needed,  in 14-day intervals for up to six months from the date of disaster declaration.

Individuals and households who are not eligible for TSA will be referred to local agencies or voluntary organizations for possible assistance.

Individuals and households may be eligible for TSA, if:

  • Register with FEMA for assistance
  • Pass identity and citizenship verification
  • Their pre-disaster primary residence is located in a geographic area that is designated for TSA
  • As a result of the disaster, they are displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence
  • They are unable to obtain lodging through another source

FEMA provides eligible applicants access to a list of approved hotels in their area, and applicants may choose to stay at any approved hotel or facility identified by FEMA. The list of approved hotels is available at http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php or the FEMA Helpline. FEMA provides applicants with access and functional needs additional assistance in locating approved hotels to meet their needs.

FEMA bases the amount of TSA on the maximum lodging rate plus taxes for the locality, as identified by the General Services Administration (GSA).

Extending TSA

When FEMA extends TSA eligible applicants are allowed to remain in transitional sheltering through the end of the extended interval if they are otherwise eligible for IHP Assistance, or both

of the following apply:

  • FEMA is currently considering the applicant’s eligibility for Temporary Housing Assistance or is waiting for documentation from the applicant needed to consider eligibility
  • They meet other conditions of eligibility established by FEMA and the coordinating state, territorial, or tribal government

Ending TSA

  • If an applicant who is receiving TSA is approved for Rental Assistance, their TSA-eligibility will terminate at the end of the 14-day interval.
  • Applicants who are not eligible for IHP Assistance may only remain in transitional sheltering until their TSA interval expires.

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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.