FEMA: Federal Disaster Assistance Available to Renters

Renters in Hawai‘i County whose homes and property were damaged by the Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.

FEMA provides individuals and households—homeowners and renters—financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet these needs through other means.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster loans to help repair or replace disaster-damaged personal property, including furniture and automobiles. Loan rates are as low as 1.938 percent; terms can be as long as 30 years and renters may be eligible for up to $40,000, depending on their losses.

Both renters and homeowners may qualify for federal assistance for other disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs, such as clothing, childcare, room furnishings and appliances, medical and dental costs, vehicles and moving and storage expenses. Eligibility for some grants is determined by completing and returning the SBA application. There is no requirement to take out a loan should it be approved.

The first step is to apply for assistance with FEMA. Those with Kilauea-related losses may do so:

  • At the Disaster Recovery Center in the Kea‘au High School Gymnasium, 16-725 Kea‘auPahoa
    Road Hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
  • By Phone 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Multilingual operators are available.
    • Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362.
    • Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-
    • The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week

Photo:  Early morning view of the open lava channel during helicopter overflight of the lower East Rift Zone on June 25. USGS image.