Victims of recent hurricanes who have been displaced from their homes can search for available rental housing using Disaster Housing Resources Online (DHR Online) at www.dhronline.org. DHR Online is a Web site that lists immediately available rental properties. People can search by location, price range and housing description, including number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Following the devastating 2004 hurricane season in Florida, the Web site reportedly proved helpful in locating housing for displaced people. It is operated by Florida State University, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Officials from FEMA and the Texas Governor’s Division of Emergency Management believe it will continue to be a valuable tool for those displaced by this year’s hurricanes to help find places to live in Texas.
The site has recently expanded to include many more states that are hosting displaced hurricane victims. Property owners in Texas who have an apartment or house for rent can list their available properties on the site at no cost. Information needed includes the city, county or zip code where the property is located, price range for rent, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Federal and state agencies are working to establish adequate temporary housing in the disaster area so victims can be near their homes. Those eligible for disaster housing assistance may receive a grant to be used for renting another place to live while they repair their home or find more permanent housing. The money can be used wherever housing resources are available.
People who sustained damages or incurred losses from the hurricanes can apply for federal disaster assistance online or by phone. The fastest way to apply is online at www.fema.gov. Other valuable information regarding disaster assistance is available at the FEMA Web site. The FEMA toll-free registration number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). People with a speech or hearing impairment can call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.
To be eligible to receive FEMA assistance as a result of Hurricane Rita, applicants must have storm-related damages not covered by insurance. Residents affected by the disaster should contact their insurance providers before calling FEMA. Federal disaster assistance for Hurricane Rita covers basic needs only and does not normally compensate victims for their entire loss, such as spoiled food.
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