BATON ROUGE, La. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency will soon be charging rent to about 1,750 households displaced by Louisiana’s 2020 hurricanes and still living in mobile homes and similar housing provided by the agency.
At Louisiana's request, FEMA had extended the deadlines for leaving those units from 18 months after the storm to Oct. 31, 2022. But federal regulations require rental payments after 18 months, the agency said in a news release.
That means households displaced by Hurricane Laura will start paying rent on April 1, and Hurricane Delta’s survivors will do so May 1. Rents are based on federal fair market rents, but may be reduced based on documented post-hurricane income.
The lowest rent will be $50 a month for households who can prove their income since the disaster is at or below the income listed as very low by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Others who want their rent reduced must provide documentation of post-disaster income and mortgages and other current housing costs to calculate their ability to pay and the amount of rent to be charged.
The agency said its caseworkers have been in close contact with survivors to discuss the process and documentation requirements. Survivors have until May 11 appeal the rental amount. Those who win an appeal and have been paying rent will get the excess back. Those who lose and have not been paying rent must pay the total due within 30 days.
FEMA said 2,400 of its trailers and RVs were occupied at the peak of the housing program for hurricanes Laura and Delta survivors, and nearly 75% are still occupied. Eligibility is decided month by month; requirements include continued progress on a permanent housing plan.