Fact: FEMA Does Not Take Private Property

​FEMA Fact Sheet: June 8, 2022
DR-4652-NM FS 015

FEMA does not seize private property in exchange for a disaster assistance application. FEMA is in New Mexico for one mission: to provide resources to eligible residents and communities as they work to recover from the ongoing wildfires that started in April.

FEMA’s Role

Since you’ve likely never been through this, here’s what to expect from FEMA: It doesn’t matter if you are uninsured or underinsured, FEMA can assist eligible residents with basic needs to make a home safe, sanitary and livable. This likely won’t restore your property to its pre-disaster condition, but it should get you back on your feet. At that point, federal and state partners, nonprofit organizations including churches, volunteers, and the community-at-large will play a vital role. This Whole Community concept ensures a population is able to withstand and recover from difficult circumstances.

Examples of Safe, Sanitary and Livable Repairs

Primary Residence: FEMA may assist with home repair or replacement due to damage caused by fire, ash, or straight-line winds. FEMA will not pay for damage to a secondary property, like a vacation home. This assistance may include repair of disaster-damaged heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems along with repair or replacement of privately owned and maintained septic systems, wells, and road/bridges.

Personal Property: FEMA may assist with the replacement or repair of disaster-damaged personal property such, as refrigerators and stoves. FEMA will not repair or replace non-essential items like dishwashers and home-theater

Windows: FEMA may assist with disaster-related broken windows, but not blinds or drapes.

Temporary Lodging: Additional FEMA help may include temporary expenses to pay for lodging if a survivor’s home is uninhabitable, or assistance replacing essential household items.

Transportation Assistance: Funds for primary vehicles damaged by the disaster, including damage from fire, fallen trees, power lines or vehicle accidents caused by unsafe driving conditions.

As every resident’s situation is different, FEMA calculations on what it may cover vary. Expenses for repairs that exceed the conditions to make a home safe, sanitary and livable are ineligible. Assistance depends on a host of factors like insurance coverage

If Assistance Is Not Enough to Repair your Home to its Original Condition:

  • After you apply for disaster assistance, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA may contact survivors to offer them a low-interest disaster loan. Homeowners and renters who receive an application for an SBA loan should complete the application even if they decide not to take it. However, if you choose not to submit an application, you may be missing out on potential additional resources from FEMA to help with your recovery. To better understand what an SBA loan application entails, click here to go to fema.gov/fact-sheet/true-or-false-setting-record-straight-sba-loans-and-fema-assistance-0. If you have any questions about SBA Disaster Loans, call (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture also offers a variety of assistance to farmers, ranchers, communities, and businesses that have been hard hit by natural disaster events. To learn which program would be benefit your needs, go to farmers.gov/protection-recovery/disaster-tool.

For the latest information visit fema.gov/disaster/4652. Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6 or on Facebook at facebook.com/FEMARegion6/.

FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 833-285-7448. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).

The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. TTY users may also call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visit SBA at www.SBA.gov/disaster