FLORIDA DISASTER ASSISTANCE MANUAL 4 The FCO is responsible for coordinating all disaster assistance

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  • FLORIDA

    DISASTER ASSISTANCE MANUAL For Legal Services Advocates June 2014 Edition

  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This Manual was first published a decade ago by the Florida Bar Foundation, who has

    graciously allowed Florida Legal Services, Inc., to coordinate its revision. The original

    author of this Manual was Terry Coble, who was assisted with contributions from many

    lawyers in the legal services community. The enormous efforts of advocates involved in

    the initial development are too numerous to mention, but not unappreciated.

  • IMPORTANT

    This is an overview of disaster assistance available under various state and federal law,

    the, the steps that a legal assistance program should take to help ensure that this

    assistance reaches low-income disaster victims, and practice pointers to guide the

    advocate in representing clients. The Manual is neither exhaustive nor a substitute for

    legal research or advice. Law and policy discussed in this Manual are subject to

    periodic change. It is important to verify continued accuracy of the law and policy

    discussed herein before relying on any of this Manual’s content.

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PART ONE: FEMA ASSISTANCE .................................................................................. 1

    A. INITIAL ADVOCACY ........................................................................................... 1

    1. Contacting Officials and Other Players .................................................... 2

    a) Obtaining Background Information ................................................ 2

    b) Additional Necessary Contacts ...................................................... 3

    2. Advocating for Emergency and Other Disaster Programs ....................... 4

    a) Assessing Your Community’s Needs ............................................. 4 b) Advocacy for Additional Programs ................................................. 6

    c) Advocacy Regarding the DRCs ..................................................... 7 3. Ensuring that Low-Income People Receive Information .......................... 8

    a) Advocacy Regarding Publicity ....................................................... 8

    b) Notice Regarding Disaster Housing Assistance............................. 8

    c) Development of Written Informational Material .............................. 9

    d) Dissemination of Materials ........................................................... 10

    B. APPLICATION FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE ............................................... 11

    1. Application Deadlines ............................................................................ 15

    2. Inspection of the Disaster Dwelling ........................................................ 16

    3. Eligibility of Immigrants .......................................................................... 17

    C. TYPES OF FEMA DISASTER ASSISTANCE................................................... 19

    1. Section 403 Transitional Sheltering Assistance ...................................... 19

    2. Assistance under Individual and Household Program (IHP) .................. 21

    a) Temporary Housing Assistance (THA) ....................................... 23

    (1) Eligibility ........................................................................... 24

    (2) Types of Assistance ......................................................... 26

  • b) Financial Assistance to Address Other Needs ............................. 31

    (1) Eligibility Requirements .................................................... 32

    (2) Application Process ......................................................... 33

    (3) Types of Assistance ......................................................... 34

    c) IHP Decisions and Appeals ......................................................... 35

    d) Advocacy Issues .......................................................................... 36

    (1) FEMA Denial Notices: Due Process Rights ..................... 37

    (2) Availability of Rental Housing: The Need for Trailers ....... 37

    (3) Accessibility of Trailers to People with Disabilities ........... 38

    (4) The “Shared Household” Issue ........................................ 39

    (5) Requirements for Continued THA .................................... 41

    (6) Termination of Mobile Home Assistance.......................... 42

    (7) Recoupment Issues ......................................................... 44

    3. SBA Disaster Loans................................................................................ 51

    a) Application Process ..................................................................... 51

    b) Eligibility ....................................................................................... 52

    c) Other Requirements ..................................................................... 53

    d) Amount of Loans .......................................................................... 54

    e) Terms of Loans ............................................................................ 54

    f) Misapplication of Funds ................................................................ 55

    g) Advocacy Issues .......................................................................... 55

    (1) Refusal or Rescission of an SBA Loan ............................ 55

    (2) Need for Both SBA Loan and ONA .................................. 56

    (3) Modification of the Terms of the Loan .............................. 56

    PART TWO: FOOD ASSISTANCE .................................................................................. 58

    A. FOOD ASSISTANCE OVERVIEW .................................................................... 58

    1. Expedited Food Assistance .................................................................... 59

    2. Replacement Food Assistance ............................................................... 60

    3. Disaster Food Stamps ............................................................................ 61

    4. Advocacy Issues ..................................................................................... 62

    PART THREE: RIGHTS OF RESIDENTIAL TENANTS ................................................... 65

  • A. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................. 65

    B. TERMINATION OF A TENANCY ...................................................................... 65

    C. PROHIBITED PRACTICES .............................................................................. 66

    D. SECURITY DEPOSITS .................................................................................... 68

    1. Landlord’s Responsibilities ..................................................................... 68

    2. Tenant’s Responsibilities ........................................................................ 69

    E. RENT WITHHOLDING AND MAINTENANCE OF PREMISES ......................... 69

    1. Landlord’s Responsibilities ..................................................................... 69

    2. Tenant’s Responsibilities ........................................................................ 70

    F. CASUALTY DAMAGE ....................................................................................... 71

    G. PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE ................................................................. 72

    H. GUESTS ........................................................................................................... 72

    PART FOUR: DISASTER RECOVERY FOR MOBILE HOME RESIDENTS ................... 74

    A. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................. 74

    B. IMMEDIATE ACTION STEPS ........................................................................... 74

    1. Conduct a “Windshield Survey” ............................................................. 74

    2. Key Contacts .......................................................................................... 74

    3. Get Involved in the Recovery .................................................................. 75

    4. Advocate for those Likely to be Overlooked ........................................... 75

    5. Advocate for the Right of Return ............................................................ 75

    C. KEY LEGAL ISSUES FACING MOBILE HOME RESIDENTS AFTER A

    HURRICANE ......................................................................................................... 75

  • D. RECERTIFICATION AND LONG TERM HOUSING ISSUES ........................... 78

    1. Recertification ......................................................................................... 78

    2. The FEMA Sales Program ...................................................................... 79

    3. Long Term Housing Issues ..................................................................... 80

    PART FIVE: DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE ............................................ 81

    A. DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE OVERVIEW ..................