FEMA Shelters and Other Temporary Housing Options for Flood Survivors

FEMA Shelters and Other Temporary Housing Options for Flood Survivors

7 minute read

Being driven from your home by a flood can be overwhelming and stressful. Finding a safe place to stay while you rebuild or repair your home is a top priority. This guide will help you navigate FEMA Assistance and other temporary housing options after a flood, understand what they are entitled to, and know who to contact for help.

Immediate Steps to Take

  1. Contact FEMA: If you haven't already, register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You can apply for assistance by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). TTY users can call 1-800-462-7585.
  2. Check Local Resources: Contact your local emergency management office. In Florida, you can reach out to the Florida Division of Emergency Management at (850) 815-4000 or visit their website at FloridaDisaster.org.
  3. Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your homeowners or renters insurance company about the flood damage to start the claims process.

Fema shelters for flood survivors

Temporary Housing Options

Government-Provided Shelters

FEMA Shelters: FEMA works with local governments to set up emergency shelters. These are typically located in schools, community centers, or other public buildings. Shelters provide basic necessities such as food, water, and a safe place to sleep. For current shelter locations, check the Red Cross Shelter Map at RedCross.org.

What to Expect:

  • Limited privacy and personal space.
  • Basic amenities and communal living conditions.
  • Rules and regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.

Temporary Housing Assistance from FEMA

FEMA may provide financial assistance for temporary housing, which includes:

  • Rental Assistance: Funds to rent a place to live for a limited time while your home is being repaired. This can include apartments, houses, or hotels.
  • Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA): Direct payments to participating hotels to provide short-term lodging.

What to Expect:

  • Financial aid to cover rent, usually for up to 18 months.
  • A list of available rental properties that meet FEMA's criteria.
  • Regular check-ins with FEMA are necessary to ensure ongoing eligibility.

Local and State Resources

In Florida, additional support can be found through local and state resources:

  • Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF): They can assist with food, cash, and medical assistance. Visit MyFLFamilies.com or call 1-866-762-2237.
  • Local Housing Authorities: Many counties and cities have housing authorities that provide assistance. For example, Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Development can be reached at (305) 416-1927 or Miami-Dade Housing.

What to Expect:

  • Additional financial support and resources tailored to your local area.
  • Access to local shelters, housing programs, and community services.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Organizations like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and local non-profits often provide temporary housing and other assistance.

  • American Red Cross: Provides emergency shelters and recovery assistance. Visit RedCross.org or call 1-800-733-2767.
  • Salvation Army: Offers disaster relief services, including shelter and food. Visit SalvationArmyUSA.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

What to Expect:

  • There are various services, depending on the organization and available resources.
  • There is potential for additional support, such as food, clothing, and counseling services.

What You Are Entitled To

As a flood victim in the US, you may be entitled to several forms of assistance:

  • FEMA Individual Assistance (IA): Covers temporary housing, repair, replacement, and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance.
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA): If you lost your job due to the flood, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits. Apply through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity at FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-204-2418.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: Low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses to repair or replace damaged property. Visit SBA.gov or call 1-800-659-2955.

Floods in Numbers

Floods are one of the most common and devastating natural disasters in the United States. They can strike with little warning, displacing thousands of people and causing significant financial and emotional distress. Understanding the impact of floods can help you better prepare and protect your home and family. Here are some key statistics that highlight the extent of flood-related displacement and costs in America.

Displacement and Affected Individuals

  • Annual Displacement: On average, floods displace over 75,000 Americans from their homes each year. This number can fluctuate significantly depending on the severity of the flood season and the occurrence of major flood events.
  • Affected Households: According to FEMA, floods impact approximately 100,000 households annually. This includes those who experience minor flooding and those who suffer total property loss.

Financial Costs of Flood Events

  • Average Cost per Event: The average cost of a flood event to an affected household is around $39,000. This estimate includes expenses related to home repairs, replacing lost or damaged belongings, and temporary living arrangements.
  • Insurance Gaps: Despite the availability of flood insurance, many homeowners are underinsured. According to the Insurance Information Institute, only about 15% of American homeowners have a flood insurance policy. This often leads to significant out-of-pocket expenses for those affected by floods.
  • Total Annual Costs: Floods cause an estimated $8 billion in damages annually across the United States. This figure accounts for property damage, agricultural losses, infrastructure repair, and emergency response costs.

Long-Term Impact

  • Economic Strain: Beyond the immediate financial burden, floods can lead to long-term economic strain on affected families. This includes loss of employment, decreased property values, and the financial impact of ongoing repairs and recovery efforts.
  • Emotional and Psychological Effects: The emotional toll of being displaced by a flood is significant. Many flood victims experience stress, anxiety, and depression as they navigate the recovery process. Access to mental health support and community resources is crucial for their well-being.

Community and Government Response

  • FEMA Assistance: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides various forms of assistance to flood victims, including financial aid for temporary housing, home repairs, and other disaster-related expenses. In recent years, FEMA has allocated billions of dollars to help communities recover from major flood events.
  • Local Support: State and local governments, along with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), play a vital role in disaster response and recovery. They provide immediate relief, long-term support, and resources to help rebuild communities.

The Importance of Preparedness

Given the significant impact of floods, preparedness is essential. Here are some steps you can take to protect your home and family:

  • Invest in Flood Insurance: Ensure you have adequate flood insurance coverage. Standard homeowners insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage.
  • Install Flood Barriers: Consider installing flood barriers from Dam It is easy to protect your property. These barriers can prevent water from entering your home, minimizing damage.
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  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest flood safety updates and warnings from local authorities and weather services.


Navigating temporary housing options after a flood can be challenging, but numerous resources are available to help you get back on your feet. Start by contacting FEMA and local resources, and explore the various options for temporary housing and financial assistance. Remember, you're not alone—many organizations are ready to support you through this difficult time.

For future protection, consider investing in flood barriers. Dam Easy offers reliable flood control solutions to safeguard your home and business from flood damage. Stay tuned for the latest flood safety updates, and contact us to get the flood barriers you need.

Stay safe, and take it one step at a time. If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to the contacts provided.

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