Relocation Supports and Resources for Survivors of Natural Disasters and Other Disasters
(Last updated September 17, 2018)
If you and your household are experiencing homelessness due to a disaster, you may be eligible for resources and support from the state and federal governments.
Various federal and state agencies and nonprofits are working to provide relocation supports and wraparound services to families and individuals from Puerto Rico impacted by September 2017’s Hurricane Maria, as well as households impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Here are some of the documents and links:
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts resource guide for households without children under 18 (June 2018)
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts letter to households with children under 18 who have been living in motels (June 2018)
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts memo on resources (November 2017)
- Mass211: Households can call 211 or 1-877-211-6277 to find out information about critical services and resources.
- Massachusetts Family Resource Centers: This network, funded by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Children and Families, is on the front lines of connecting families fleeing natural disasters with needed resources. For a list of the regional sites, click here.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Registering with FEMA and using Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) benefits at participating Massachusetts hotels/motels; extension of TSA benefits (December 2017)
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidance: School enrollment information for children who have lost their housing (October 2017) and Welcoming students from Puerto Rico (September 2017)
- Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) benefits: Guidance from the Department of Housing and Community Development
MassLegalServices.org has put together articles and listings of information and resources for natural disaster survivors, covering topics such as FEMA benefits, evacuee benefits, housing resources, and accessing benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) and unemployment benefits. This article provides more details on how households get replacement benefits through the SNAP program for food lost due to natural disaster, power loss, flooding, etc.
* September 17, 2018: The Department of Transitional Assistance has issued a reminder regarding replacement SNAP benefits for households that lose food due natural disaster or other misfortune, in response to the widespread gas explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.
From the Director of the DTA Ombudsman Unit, Sara Craven:
“SNAP policy allows for the replacement of food lost during a household misfortune, such as a fire, flood, loss of electricity, equipment malfunction (such as refrigerator or freezer) or other disaster.
Clients may request replacement benefits because of a misfortune that is restricted to their household or because of a more widespread misfortune that has impacted a town, county, state or region.
The client may report the loss orally by calling the DTA Assistance Line at 877-382-3263 or in writing within 10 days of when the loss occurred. The written statement may be submitted by uploading it through the DTA Connect mobile application, mailing it to DTA’s Document Processing Center at P. O. Box 4406, Taunton MA 02780-0420 or faxing it to 617 – 887-8765…
Clients are required to complete the SNAP-9B form (Statement of Loss/Request for Replacement Food due to a Household Disaster or Misfortune Form) and submit to DTA. Please note a SNAP-9B form does not have to be completed to report the initial loss, clients may call DTA to report the loss and subsequently submit the form.“