FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program ends
SAN JUAN – After providing emergency aid for 10 months through Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is ending the program Saturday for hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria survivors, leaving hundreds of people without housing.
Intended to provide emergency shelter, TSA is only temporary solution while survivors try to find more permanent options. To date, FEMA said it has spent more than $432 million on survivor lodging for TSA, and provided rental assistance to more than 25,000 TSA participant families to help them find permanent housing.
“The remaining households in TSA have either received rental or repair assistance from FEMA; have a habitable home with utilities on; or are not eligible for additional FEMA housing assistance. FEMA and its partners have conducted outreach on multiple occasions and a total of 97 percent of those enrolled in the program have successfully transitioned to more permanent housing. Federal, state, and voluntary organization partners will continue to provide assistance through disaster case management to those who still require long-term solutions,” the agency said in a statement.
“As of June 27, 1,763 Puerto Rico households are checked into hotels and motels through the TSA,” FEMA said, adding that “534 are in Puerto Rico and 1,229 are in the continental U.S.”
On May 3, FEMA announced transportation assistance to Puerto Rico survivors checked into TSA-participating stateside hotels to offer assistance to them in returning home. More than 145 families have either booked their return travel or already returned to Puerto Rico, the agency said.
Survivors still needing help with longer-term housing assistance, legal advice and crisis counseling can contact the Immediate Disaster Case Management program until July 2, at 855-742-5993.
For survivors in Puerto Rico, a longer-term program grant will be awarded in the coming weeks. Case managers are connecting survivors with non-governmental organizations or state-supported programs for longer-term case management support and states hosting evacuees are establishing long-term plans to support survivors who choose to not return to Puerto Rico.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, reportedly is pushing for an extension to the program.