New York, NY -- Residents affected by the Sept. 11 WTC attack who receive a check for rental assistance may use the funds for cleaning if it will solve their housing needs.
"People may use their assistance checks to meet needs specific to this disaster," said Michael Cosbar, a housing officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "That means giving people the option to decide what makes the most sense for them - either cleaning their homes and apartments to move in more quickly or finding someplace else to live."
Anyone who receives a check for temporary rental assistance will also receive a letter clarifying how to use the check. The letter explains that the assistance check may be used for housing-related expenses other than rent if the occupant believes the amount of the check will be sufficient to meet housing needs. Those who use the check for purposes other than rent, such as cleaning, will not be eligible for additional rental assistance.
The check for temporary rental assistance is based on fair market rates in the applicant's area. People who use the rental assistance checks for the purpose of rent may request more assistance only if they must remain in temporary housing for a longer period than the check covers.
To date, more than 3,100 applicants have been approved for $12.2 million in temporary rental assistance.
People affected by the Sept. 11 attack who have not registered for assistance may call the toll-free FEMA registration line at 1-800-462-9029. People who are speech- or hearing-impaired may call TTY at 1-800-462-7585. Those applicants who still have questions or require additional assistance may call the toll-free FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). Lines are open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.