Katrina, Rita Evacuees Have Access to Free Housing-Locator Services

December 8, 2005

With FEMA’s hotel program for those displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita coming to an end, evacuees currently staying in Florida ‘s Panhandle are urged to take advantage of two free resources — a Web site and a toll-free hotline — for locating available rental housing in the Gulf Coast region and throughout the rest of the nation.

Individuals can search Disaster Housing Resources, www.DHRonline.org, to find properties by price, location and other details such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The site also contains useful information about assistance programs offered by FEMA and other government organizations. Property owners can list available rental units on the site for free. Hundreds of thousands of housing units are already listed on DHRonline.

Another resource is FEMA’s toll-free housing-locator service, available daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time, at 1-800-762-8740 or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments.

The hotel program is scheduled to end on Dec. 15. In order to communicate all available housing options to Katrina and Rita evacuees, FEMA is reaching out to evacuees with public service announcements through local media, and distributing flyers to all of the hotels and motels in the program. Evacuees may also be contacted directly by state and voluntary organizations and FEMA community response outreach personnel, all of whom will be visiting hotels and motels.

Disaster victims who have yet to do so are urged to register for assistance with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments. It is also possible to register online at www.fema.gov .

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