FEMA extends Hurricane Michael housing program

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FILE- In this Oct. 11, 2018 file photo, rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla. A year after Hurricane Michael, Bay County, Florida, is still in crisis. Thousands are homeless, medical care and housing are at a premium, and domestic violence is increasing. Michael was among the strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States. This summer, county officials unveiled a blueprint to rebuild. Among their ideas: Use shipping containers and 3-D technology to build new houses and offer signing bonuses to lure new doctors. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — FEMA has announced a six-month extension of the temporary housing program through Oct. 11, 2020 in Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf and Jackson counties.

The initial 18-month program was available through April 11, 2020.

Since the 2018 storm, FEMA has provided rent-free temporary housing units for 925 displaced families in the Florida Panhandle. Working with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) and local partners, more than half of these families have found a more permanent home, officials wrote in a news release.

FEMA continues working closely with the state of Florida, local officials and volunteers to help the 450 families still living in temporary housing find a more permanent solution. Disaster case managers are also working one-on-one with these families to help with their needs.

In accordance with FEMA housing program rules and regulations, those continuing to live in FEMA temporary housing units after April will be responsible for paying monthly rent. Rental rates will vary based on the size and location of the temporary housing unit, but will not exceed the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s fair market rate. Residents will receive a letter about their individual situation. For questions, residents can speak with their FEMA housing advisor.

FEMA has provided $149 million in grants directly to Hurricane Michael survivors for home repairs, rent and personal property loss.

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