Friday, October 19, 2018

Direct Housing for Hurricane Florence Survivors in North Carolina

Oct 19, 2018

The State of North Carolina and FEMA this week began providing the first temporary housing units to households displaced by Hurricane Florence. Other units are being delivered to a staging area in Kinston daily.

FEMA is providing two forms of Direct Temporary Housing Assistance in 10 counties: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson.

Travel Trailers provide a timely, effective interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs to their home can be completed in less than a year, ideally within six months.

Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete due to greater degree of damage.

Direct housing is temporary. These units are not permanent dwellings. They are provided only when rental resources are not available in an impacted area.

“We know that many people are not able to live in their damaged homes while repairs are made and rental units are in short supply in some counties, so this is a way to provide a short-term solution,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Albie Lewis.

“These units are one part of a comprehensive set of temporary housing programs for people displaced by the disaster,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “They allow people to remain close to their jobs and communities as they continue the rebuilding process.”

Survivors who are displaced from their home because of Hurricane Florence must first apply for federal disaster assistance to be considered for FEMA programs such as financial rental assistance, grants for repairs to make their homes safe, sanitary and functional, and other forms of assistance.

Survivors can apply online at, by using the FEMA app, by visiting a disaster recovery center, or by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY). In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available by calling or texting 202-655-8824. To access a video in American Sign Language, go online to

Units are transported to a staging area in Kinston. Once a site is determined feasible for installation, FEMA will issue a work order to have a unit delivered and installed at the site. The installation process includes:

  • Placement
  • Anchoring of the unit
  • Utilities hookup
  • Compliance with local permitting
  • Inspections

The State of North Carolina and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding  local ordinances, permitting, zoning, transportation requirements, setbacks, utility connections and inspections. When installation is complete and the unit passes an occupancy inspection, it is ready for use. At that point, the applicant will sign a license-in agreement to occupy the unit.

After survivors register for federal disaster assistance, FEMA contacts households that may qualify for a travel trailer or MHU to conduct a pre-placement interview to determine whether the applicant needs direct housing and, if so, what type of housing. This determination is based on the size and needs of the household, including any people with disabilities or other access or functional needs.

For eligible applicants, FEMA may be able to place a unit on their property. FEMA must ensure the site is compliant with applicable building codes, environmental laws and floodplain regulations. If that is not possible, FEMA will lease pads in commercial parks.

For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.