Emergency & Rescue Support System (EARSS)
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Disaster Assistance

​What Is Disaster Assistance?

Recovering from a disaster is a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being.

FEMA defines disaster assistance as money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance. It is meant to help with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster.

Providing Disaster Assistance

DHS/FEMA may assist you with:

  • Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.
  • Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
  • Replacement: Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
  • Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
  • Other Needs: Disaster-related medical, dental, funeral, and burial costs; fuels for a primary heat source; clothing and household items; tools required for your job;  and necessary educational materials.

Applying for Assistance

If you have incurred losses in an area covered by a disaster declaration you may apply for Disaster Assistance online at the interagency Disaster Assistance website or over the phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The website is www.disasterassistance.org.

The Disaster Assistance website offers a short anonymous questionnaire to determine forms of assistance you may be eligible for.  The website provides further information on additional disaster assistance and resources.

Visit DisasterAssistance.org

This website provides further information on additional disaster assistance and resources.

Meet with someone in person at a FEMA disaster recovery center.

Find a hotel participating in the Transitional Shelter Assistance Program.

Find rental properties identified by federal agencies.

Struggling with difficult emotions after a disaster? Call the Disaster Distress Helpline24/7, toll-free at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (standard text message rates apply).

Get information on FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which provides assistance to states, local and tribal communities and certain types of nonprofit organizations.