Hurricane Survivors in Alabama Transition to Longer-Term Housing

February 9, 2006

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to actively assist Hurricane Katrina survivors as they make the transition from emergency and temporary housing to longer-term and permanent living arrangements.

The FEMA hotel program ended Feb. 6 for those who did not contact FEMA for an authorization code. The program provided evacuees with safe, comfortable and private emergency housing while their eligibility for FEMA’s temporary housing assistance was determined. FEMA counselors continue to meet one-on-one with all evacuees to help them develop a long term housing plan, including evacuees residing in emergency housing in travel trailers in Alabama’s state parks as they transition into longer-term housing. Since every individual’s situation is unique, FEMA tries to match each person’s needs with available programs.

Long term recovery may involve a return to a Katrina survivor’s point of evacuation. FEMA also offers assistance to Katrina survivors in the form of the following housing options and resources, including:

* Rental assistance for up to 18 months after the disaster declaration for eligible applicants in order to rent homes and apartments. FEMA recertifies evacuees for this assistance periodically;
* Temporary housing in travel trailers for up to 18 months from the disaster declaration;
* U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) voucher program for those pre-disaster homeless or former residents of public housing from impacted areas;
* Volunteer Agency referrals.

FEMA also refers eligible hurricane evacuees to federal housing options available from other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Development and Fannie Mae.

Individuals who are not eligible for FEMA housing assistance because they were not homeowners or renters before Hurricane Katrina or Rita may be eligible for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program.

Anyone still in need of permanent housing should call FEMA’s housing locater service at 800-762-8740, (TTY) 800-462-7585, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. CST daily. If an individual has not registered for assistance they must call FEMA immediately to register if they have not already done so at 800-621-FEMA (3362), or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

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