Rental payments continue for remaining Katrina/Rita households in rental housing

FEMA-HUD Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) Launched Dec. 1, 2007

WASHINGTON – December 4, 2007 – Thousands of residents displaced by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes are continuing to have their rent paid through a new government initiative, the Disaster Housing Assistance Program, which is being administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

To give families more time to regain self-sufficiency, the Administration announced in April that housing for hurricane victims, which was set to end on Sept. 1, 2007, would be extended an additional 18 months until March 1, 2009.

HUD and FEMA have been working together for months to transfer information about tenants and their housing situation to ensure that the transition from one agency to another does not negatively impact residents. HUD assumed day-to-day management of the program from FEMA Dec. 1, 2007.

HUD is administering the program through its network of public housing agencies (PHA) to reach out to those families who are eligible for this critical housing program to ensure that their rent payments continue, and to offer them services to help them get back on the road to self-sufficiency. PHAs, in turn, are working with 12,000 landlords throughout the nation to ensure that rental payments continue for the 28,000 residents continuing to receive government rental housing assistance and that they receive case management services, such as job training and child care.

Over the past several months, HUD and PHAs have been aggressively reaching out to families eligible for assistance, sending letters, knocking on doors and calling households. HUD has also deployed nearly 20 staff members to cities where the largest numbers of displaced families are currently living, including Houston, Dallas-Forth Worth, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and Memphis.

FEMA and HUD will continue to work together to ensure that all eligible individuals and families are aware of the program and their eligibility. We want to ensure that everyone eligible, particularly over this holiday season, is seamlessly transitioned into the new program. Individuals who believe they may be eligible for the program, but do not think they have been contacted, should call into the referral call center immediately. The phone number to the toll-free call center is 1-866-373-9509. Operators are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT, and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday and Sunday. More information is available at www.hud.gov/news/dhap.cfm.

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HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.

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HUD

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws.

Contact:

Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685

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