Federal Disaster Assistance Available to Renters, Too

June 25, 2018, 1:10 PM HST
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FEMA announces that renters in Hawai‘i County whose homes and property were damaged by the Kīlauea 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‘au-Pāhoa Road Hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Online at
  • 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) 462-7585.The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

    Additional information on FEMA assistance is available online:

  • To apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans, Applicants can visit the disaster recovery center for one- on-one assistance or apply online using SBA’s secure website at

In addition, applicants can get more information on SBA disaster assistance by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955, by visiting, or by emailing [email protected]. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339.



Paper applications may be requested, and completed paper applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.


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