Whether you experience a fire or a natural disaster, there may come a time when you urgently need to find alternative accommodations because your home has become uninhabitable. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find the right temporary housing at an affordable cost after an emergency, so it may be necessary to enlist the help of the following resources:
- State and/or federal programs
- Disaster relief NGOs
- Insurance coverage
Here’s what you need to know about the above options.
State and Federal Programs
Some disasters – such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other natural events – may be widespread enough to require governmental intervention. Your state’s emergency management agency might intervene, but in cases of widespread damage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may step in to assist.
In cases where thousands of people have become suddenly displaced, these agencies may provide shelter, but only for the short term, meaning only for a few days or weeks. Depending upon your circumstances or the extent of the damage, governmental agencies might provide funds that help to cover the cost of restoring your home or finding alternative lodgings.
Disaster Relief NGOs
When a major disaster strikes, sometimes local or national relief organizations provide essential services to the affected population. These organizations, called non-governmental organizations or NGOs, include the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, among others. They help survivors locate transitional housing and provide stores of food, clothing, and medical supplies when necessary. However, in the event of a more localized issue, such as a fire that only affects your home, you may find that charitable resources are more limited.
If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that offers fire or flood coverage, you may be entitled to long-term temporary housing while damages are repaired. This is often under the “loss of use” provision, and – depending upon the specific policy – might cover the bulk of your living expenses if your home has been deemed uninhabitable. There are three major factors to take into account with of loss of use coverage:
- Reimbursement will only cover up to the equivalent of what you would typically spend living in your home.
- Your coverage is for a finite length of time, so it might expire before you can move back into your home.
- Your rental coverage will likely be for a living space of equivalent size.
Temporary Furnished Housing Post-Disaster
If you have insurance coverage that provides reimbursement for temporary rental housing, you may want to consider temporary furnished housing for yourself and your family in the event of a disaster. Also called corporate housing, temporary furnished housing is an excellent, budget-friendly resource for people who have been displaced for an undetermined length of time. Not only is corporate housing significantly less expensive than hotel accommodations, corporate housing provides all of the supplies and necessities of a fully functional home – necessities people who’ve endured a disaster probably won’t have.
Hopefully, you won’t have to endure a disaster that forces you out of your home, but furnished corporate housing might be one of your best options if you find yourself needing accommodations.