Rent begins for Englewood’s FEMA village residents on April 1

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro
Published: Updated:

A FEMA village is a lifeline for many families, giving them a roof above their heads while trudging through the Hurricane Ian recovery process.

Now, they will get to stay in them a bit longer since FEMA extended the deadline.

Nevertheless, they will have to start paying rent on April 1.

Fear and frustration could sum up how some feel. FEMA gives you 18 months from the day of the storm in their temporary housing.

People who live in Englewood’s FEMA village say the place wasn’t complete until August, giving them five, maybe six months, to figure something out.

Many are afraid of rent payments and the possibility of being kicked out and homeless again.

One FEMA village resident who lost everything after Hurricane Ian wants to remain anonymous. Now she lives in FEMA’s temporary housing and is getting temporary answers from FEMA and lives in fear of getting it taken away.

“It’s scary because they say they’re going to help you and then they don’t, you know. They’ll do things and then pull it out from under you, pull the rug out,” the anonymous FEMA village resident said.

She’s only had her trailer for five months. FEMA policy gives you 18 months from the date of the storm, regardless of when you moved in.

A six-month extension provided some relief until many learned earlier in February if you want to stay, you now have to pay.

“Which is a high rent, it’s unreasonable,” the anonymous resident said.

Agents started going door to door, letting people know of the extension of their rent requirement. FEMA told WINK News that everyone still in their temporary housing has received the information at least by letter.

The anonymous woman in the FEMA village called the agents going door to door is overwhelming.

“One before last said if you don’t follow our direction right now, we’ll just have you evicted, everybody,” she said.

There are options to appeal for a lower rent. Some of the residents said the process was easy, while others are facing roadblocks and have more questions every day.

“Can we have answers so we can get this resolved? We don’t even want to be here,” she said, “but they just have like budged up … One hand doesn’t know what the other one is doing.”

She said the first couple of months there they felt good about things since they had a good relationship with the FEMA agent.

But, since they told WINK News, it’s been a revolving door of people, and they feel like they have to start over each time they knock on their door.

Everyone in the village has 60 days to appeal for a rent reduction.

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