Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the federal agency that administers temporary disaster housing assistance to residents who have been displaced by house fires. Many states also operate an Office of Emergency Services for house fire victims, as well. Many people do not know that disaster assistance may be available to them if they are eligible.
House Fire Statistics
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2007, U.S. fire departments responded to 399,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,600 civilian injuries, 2,865 civilian deaths, $7.4 billion in direct damage. It also stated that 84 percent of all civilian fire deaths resulted from home structure fires, cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries, and smoking is a leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.
What FEMA Provides
FEMA's program includes transient accommodations reimbursement--payment for the cost of short-term lodging for hotel rooms due to damage to your home or an official evacuation--along with rental or mortgage assistance programs and minimal home repair assistance. The bulk of FEMA's response and assistance programs for fire victims pertain to natural and national disasters.
How Foundations Can Donate to Fire Victims
In times of dire need, foundations may want to consider granting emergency hardship scholarships or grants to individuals. Providing funding relief to people who are in need of financial resources, particularly in the case of an emergency, is recognized by the IRS as a charitable purpose, except when funds are from "donor-advised" sources, according to donoradvisedfunds.com. For example, a charitable giving instrument administered by an independent party and created to manage charitable donations on behalf of an organization, family or an individual. Grants should be designated for meeting basic immediate needs to a group of individuals in the selected charitable cause, not to replace jobs or lost income.
Public Collection of Funds
Sometimes, those who want to help individual victims of house fires can advertise for the collection of aid funds as a public service announcement (PSA) to be advertised on local television, radio or in an open public place, such as a bank.
Fire Prevention Grants
In the interest of safety, fire departments across the nation can apply for grants that help them with teaching and training individual communities in how to prevent house fires and potential disasters. The FM Global Fire Prevention Grant Program (fmglobal.com/page.aspx?id=01060200) offers financial support to organizations working to prevent and combat fire and offer training on fire safety and investigating cases of arson. Nonprofit and volunteer fire departments are also eligible for federal grants to help construct and build fire stations in their local or rural communities.