LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging families to actively seek long-term housing.
More than two months after the first of three catastrophic hurricanes hit the U.S. Gulf Coast region, hundreds of evacuees have made the choice they all face: selecting communities in which to reside as they rebuild their lives. A survey being conducted statewide by FEMA service teams suggests about 1,723 evacuees remain in hotels and motels.
Whether the housing is temporary in hopes of returning to Louisiana or represents a decision to resettle permanently, FEMA is urging families to seek a more stable environment for their families.
If evacuees need assistance locating housing, a network of federal, state and local agencies is available. According to a report by the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) about 1,800 apartments are available statewide. This does not include rental homes or houses for sale.
ADFA is the conduit between evacuees and local Public Housing Authorities (PHA) as they seek temporary housing. PHAs administer Tenant-Based Rental Assistance for disaster victims. Evacuees should call 501-682-5900 to be directed to the local housing authority or go to www.arkansas.gov/adfa/ for a complete list of the PHA network.
Another resource is the federal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD ) which has waived some of its requirements to help facilitate placement of hurricane-impacted families in appropriate housing. HUD has provided for self-certification of income for disaster victims. FEMA registration is required for all applicants seeking HUD assistance.
FEMA can help with housing needs for those who cannot get to their home due to the disaster, or whose home needs repairs because of disaster damage. FEMA registration is the first step in getting any housing assistance.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.