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San Diego County's Emergency Temporary Lodging program set to expire for flood victims

San Diego County is telling recipients of the Emergency Temporary Lodging program that they have between seven days and five weeks before their hotel vouchers expire. KPBS Reporter Melissa Mae checks back in with a woman who lost both her home and business on January 22.

San Diego County is notifying recipients of its Emergency Temporary Lodging program this week that they have between seven days and a little more than five weeks before their hotel vouchers expire.

Why it matters

There are currently 800 households affected by the January floods being housed in local hotels, according to San Diego County. As part of the temporary lodging program, they are required to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for aid.

The county said more than 400 participants have not yet registered with FEMA for assistance. They are being told this week that they have seven days until they must register with FEMA or find a new place to live.


People who have been notified by FEMA that their home is safe to return to have been given two weeks to prepare to move before their vouchers expire. A third group includes people who are working with FEMA to find a "suitable place to stay." Their vouchers will expire on May 11.

By the numbers

A FEMA spokesperson said they have received 6,685 applications and approved 2,381 for a total of more than $18 million in aid to San Diego County flood victims. The agency has denied about 1,000 applications due to lack of damages, they said.

If FEMA denies assistance, spokesperson Maria Padron said applicants should ask why.

"Maybe we’re needing to see some documentation. They forgot to sign a paper, or they didn't keep the appointment with the inspector. The inspector is gonna call a person up to three times," Padron said.

FEMA offers financial aid of up to $42,500 for rental assistance and $42,500 for repairs. The FEMA grant money does not have to be paid back, and it is tax free. Disaster relief recipients are also encouraged to apply for Small Business Administration loans.


Looking ahead

The deadline to reach out to FEMA is April 19, 2024, to receive any financial assistance.

Flood victims who have not yet applied for FEMA assistance should call 800-621-3362 or go to their website.