Disclaimer: The information provided here is NOT official. Each person/family must work with FEMA directly to arrange their rent assistance according to their own situation.
I have been trying to understand what criteria FEMA uses to determine if I will qualify for rent assistance after the first month. I kept hearing about “accessibility” and it was sounding as if when my house is accessible I may no longer qualify for rent assistance. This concerns me because my house may become accessible long before I am able to live there. For us, it is not feasible to live in the house if there is no water. So if I can get to my house but have not water, will I still qualify for rent assistance?
I had a long conversation with Koreena at the FEMA help line about this. She explained that the inspector will actually be evaluating two things: 1) is the house accessible, and 2) is it habitable (they do a “habitability assessment”). Habitability is based on three “S” criteria: is the house “Safe, Secure, and Sanitary”? Not having water seems to fit into the sanitary assessment but I’m not sure about that. Regardless, having water appears to be a condition for habitability.
Bottom line, when my house is accessible, if I don’t have water I think I will still qualify for rent assistance. This gives me some peace of mind, although it is not a certainty until the inspector makes his or her inspection.