FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) Program

Please note: Federal Individual Assistance Programs are available to counties noted in the President’s Major Disaster Declaration on Oct. 10, 2017 for the October wildfires.


FEMA offers Individual Assistance after a disaster to help begin your recovery. Our Individual Assistance page offers you a look at the steps and options available to you.

Registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance. If you are unable to access the internet, you can also call at 1-800-621-3362.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), volunteer groups and other agencies are at Disaster Recovery Centers and Local Assistance Centers to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance.

FEMA, Cal OES and partner agencies are working together to review all available housing options to meet the temporary/short-term and permanent/long-term housing needs of those affected by the wildfires.

Applicants may register for FEMA assistance and your registration will be reviewed for all housing options offered by FEMA and Small Business Administration homeowner, renter, business, and nonprofit loans.

We understand there is no one-size-fits-all housing solution. Eligible applicants will be identified and contacted by FEMA directly to discuss available options under the direct housing program. We also want to encourage survivors to actively seek their own personal housing solution that will best suit their recovery needs.

In addition, local government officials, community-led organizations, and partner agencies are working together to help locate and secure affordable housing which may be found on local and county government websites.

How do I apply for housing?

Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

I have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Survivors who have insurance must contact their insurance company and file a claim. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance or other benefits. However, FEMA may be able to help survivors with uninsured or underinsured losses or if their insurance settlement is delayed. Applicants should notify FEMA of their situation and provide insurance company documentation.

I was referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA).

If prompted, homeowners and renters should apply to the SBA, even if they are not sure they will need or want a loan. Applicants not approved for an SBA loan may be referred back to FEMA for possible additional grants.

I was approved for housing, now what?

FEMA assistance may be available for eligible applicants in the form of grants to help pay for temporary housing, such as renting a place to live temporarily, as well as home repair or replacement. This may include renting an apartment, house, travel trailer or staying at a hotel, bed and breakfast or Airbnb.

  • Applicants who have been notified as being eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) may stay in an approved hotel or motel for a limited period of time and have the cost of the room and lodging taxes covered by FEMA.

For those who are eligible, FEMA will authorize and fund, through direct payments to participating hotels/ motels, the use of hotels/motels as transitional shelters. The applicant is responsible for all other costs associated with lodging and amenities, including, but not limited to incidental room charges or amenities, such as telephone, room service, food, etc.

  • Uninsured lodging expenses may be eligible for reimbursement under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Displaced survivors who were already staying in hotels are encouraged to register with FEMA and submit their lodging receipts to FEMA. Receipts may be uploaded at DisasterAssistance.gov. Survivors who registered and did not submit receipts may contact FEMA for guidance in submitting documentation.
  • Options may include direct housing, such as manufactured housing units, travel trailers and direct leasing options. Potentially eligible applicants will be identified and contacted by FEMA directly to discuss available options under the direct housing program.

State and federal recovery officials urge California residents to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals who may try to prey on vulnerable survivors of the October wildfires.
For more information from FEMA, visit our California wildfire website.