What’s the story with FEMA’s Ida Rental Assistance?

What’s the story with FEMA’s Ida Rental Assistance?

After natural disasters like Hurricane Ida, FEMA typically provides an initial rental assistance payment for those displaced from their homes by the storm, as well as up to 18 months more of rental assistance for people who remain displaced

If you’re wondering, “What gives? I’ve never even heard of this rental assistance!” — don’t worry, it’s not your fault. NJOP has been investigating this issue, and we discovered that the vast majority of Ida survivors were not even offered the chance to apply for it, despite thousands potentially qualifying. We found out that less than 200 Ida survivors in New Jersey received this additional rental assistance from FEMA, and that none of our Hurricane Ida members had even been sent the application that FEMA was supposed to give them. Compare that to the 10,000 Superstorm Sandy survivors who received this assistance ten years ago, and it’s clear that something isn’t right. 

opens in a new windowRead the full story of how we cracked the case here, and opens in a new windowhere

Many of NJOP’s Superstorm Sandy members told us that FEMA rental assistance was a lifeline for them, and believe that Ida families deserve the same chance to recover, especially when so many are struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of the storm. 

If you were displaced by Hurricane Ida, we believe you should be entitled to a chance to apply for FEMA rental assistance. Many of us are stuck paying rent on top of a mortgage, at risk of losing homes to foreclosure, or risking homelessness. With soaring rent prices, we need every resource we can get to help us stay afloat until we can fully recover from Ida. 

We’re calling on FEMA to ensure that every New Jersey Ida survivor who needs rental assistance is able to access it – and soon. But until we have a more long-term fix, we urge every Ida survivor who was displaced to fill out an application. 

(you don’t need to submit this to FEMA, but you should send it to us at opens in a new windowmeghan@newjerseyop.org)

I sent in my application, now what?

Treat FEMA like a toddler trying to put on their own pants. They’re not likely to get it right the first, or even the second time. Yes. It would be great if this were easy and simple. It likely will not be. Be ready to try and try again.

We’ve had members submit multiple applications, only to have FEMA go back and forth on whether their submissions were considered complete. However, we encourage you to keep applying. The more rental assistance applications we send in (and the more issues we’re able to document with the application process), the stronger our case will be for FEMA to extend the rental assistance period and provide back pay for people previously unable to access it.

We can also help make sure your application doesn’t get lost in the general application pool! Make sure to send us both your completed application and completed privacy release form at opens in a new windowmeghan@newjerseyop.org so we can work together on getting you through this process.

While we continue to build our case, we encourage you to join us! NJOP has monthly meetings for storm survivors where we work together on the issues we’re facing–rental assistance included. We’re still working on solving this one, so if you have questions or want to get involved, join us! You can RSVP at opens in a new windowwww.njorganizing.us/stormcall – and subscribe to our mailing list to keep up with upcoming events, actions, and more over here.

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