As the deadline approaches for disaster victims to transition from FEMA-funded hotel rooms to its rental assistance program, representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have begun an extensive outreach effort to provide information to make this important and necessary transition to rebuild their lives.
Representatives fanned out into Baton Rouge area hotels last weekend, launching a state-wide effort to meet face-to-face and share resources and tools with the estimated 9,000 individuals and families still living in short-term housing.
Beginning Dec. 15, evacuees will need to tap FEMA-provided housing assistance or other financial means to fund lodging costs. In order to make the best use of the financial assistance being made available to them, FEMA is strongly encouraging families to look for more cost effective options that offer greater privacy and stability like apartments and houses.
“Over the past three months, many of those displaced by Katrina have made tremendous steps in returning normalcy to their lives – renting apartments, enrolling children in schools, finding jobs, and reestablishing their self reliance,” said Scott Wells, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. “Now, almost three months after Hurricane Katrina and two months after Hurricane Rita, we must help those remaining in hotels get squarely on the road to recovery.”
Housing options include rental apartments or other properties both in Louisiana and out of state, travel trailers or mobile homes or temporary residence with friends or relatives. For those choosing the travel trailer or mobile home options, a temporary relocation to friends or family may be needed while the long-term housing is established. If this relocation is necessary, FEMA will pay for the relocation expenses, as well as the return costs once the trailer or mobile home is ready.
All FEMA representatives carry photo identification. If you think someone is misrepresenting themselves as a FEMA representative, call the Helpline for assistance. Never give your FEMA registration number to anyone other than a FEMA representative. Visits from FEMA representatives will not be conducted after 7 p.m. unless special arrangements are made.
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