FEMA Apartments

From FEMA Answers

FEMA has subsidized over 65,000 apartments through state and local governments. FEMA began transitioning this program away from local governments in late March 2006. For a rough map describing the location of these apartments by County as of April 2006, see apartments map. More than half of these apartments are located in Houston, for more information on those, see the Houston Hurricane Recovery web site.


Transition Guidance

FEMA Transitions from 403 to 408 Assistance

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, cities across the country welcomed the hurricane evacuees with open arms. With FEMA’s approval, many created city-run voucher programs and offered evacuees six-and 12-month apartment leases. These programs are funded through FEMA's Section 403 public assistance program.

On November 15, however, FEMA reversed position and announced that it would stop reimbursing cities for voucher lease payments as of March 1, 2006 and would instead begin transitioning voucher holders into FEMA's individual rental assistance program (Section 408).

Six days before that deadline, on February 22, FEMA finally issued a notice outlining the specific steps it will take to end the voucher leases and move evacuees into FEMA's Section 408 individual assistance programs.

On March 14, NMHC/NAA met with FEMA’s Acting Director of Recovery, David Garratt, to discuss the 403-to408 transition. His staff estimates that 90 percent of the evacuees will qualify, and that anyone who is ineligible will be given 30 days before being cut off from the 403 program.

Because of privacy concerns, FEMA says it cannot tell apartment owners if an individual is eligible. According to its latest notice, the state is responsible for notifying owners if evacuees are eligible. FEMA officials also suggested that owners ask evacuees for a copy of their eligibility letter before entering into new leases.

On March 26, FEMA issued additional guidance detailing how the transition from 403 (vouchers) to 408 (individual assistance) would be handled and extending the timetable for completing the transition to May 31. (A FEMA Q&A has also been posted here.)


Cities with voucher programs are are supposed to submit a list of those leases and all pertinent information about them to the Agency's contractor, Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC). FEMA will then determine which voucher holders are eligible for 408 assistance. FEMA will notify its regional offices of eligible and ineligible evacuees. The regional offices will, in turn, notify the state, and the state (through the host jurisdiction/local government), must notify the evacuee and the apartment owner within 15 days.

Evacuees do not need to take action until they are contacted by FEMA to determine eligibility for 408 assistance.

408 Eligible Evacuees, Voucher Lease Expires Before March 31.

Evacuees must assume the lease (or sign a new one). They will receive rental assistance from FEMA in three-month increments, which they must use to pay their rent. They can request additional assistance by completing a recertification form.
Three Month Leases:
In response to NMHC/NAA’s requests for direct payments to all property owners, FEMA’s Acting Director of Recovery, David Garratt, suggested that owners provide evacuees with three-month leases and seek payment for all three months of rent in advance. Concerned about possible fair housing violations, t