Ask Amy: Common FEMA questions answered here

Hotel won't take voucher? Assistance confusion between landlords, renters?

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Hotel won't take Federal Emergency Management Agency vouchers?

KPRC Channel 2 News is getting a lot of calls and emails from people who need help with recovery after Hurricane Harvey. We are working hard to find answers to some of people's most common questions and concerns. Consumer expert Amy Davis tackles FEMA assistance in today’s "Ask Amy."

Issue:
FEMA assistance for landlords and renters

Viewer Erica Davis sent us this email:

"My family is not receiving any help from FEMA for housing assistance, but my landlord committed fraud by saying she lives in the home we're renting from her and has received assistance."

Viewer BJ sent us an email with a similar problem a family member is having.

"My sister-in-law immediately applied for assistance from FEMA online and her claim was rejected because her landlord (the owner of the home) applied for assistance on that address on Monday."

Answer:
A FEMA representative told KPRC it sounds like the landlord applied for assistance as the tenant and not the property owner. Maybe it was unintentional, but you should be able to file a claim with that address as the tenant to receive hotel vouchers and possibly other assistance for property that was damaged. Your landlord can file separately as the property owner to receive assistance to make repairs.

To straighten this out, you need to speak with a FEMA representative, either by phone at
1‑800‑621‑3362, or by stopping by one of the Disaster Recovery Centers scheduled to open this week. There will be FEMA representatives you can speak with directly about the issue. Make sure you bring a utility bill in your name at your address and your lease agreement.

Issue:
FEMA hotel vouchers

Viewer Mary Kay emailed:

"Many hotels won't accept FEMA vouchers even though they have rooms available. Why?"

Answer:
FEMA said unfortunately they can't force any hotel to take its vouchers. FEMA pays the
government rate for hotel stays. If the hotel
can make more money on another customer, it is its right to do that. Check www.femaevachotels.com
to see hotels that have taken FEMA vouchers in the past.

FEMA has a "Rumor Control" section of its website where it is answering common questions people are having.

 

As always, keep sending us your questions at AskAmy@click2houston.com and we will work to find answers.

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