LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- With a week to go, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is reminding Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees who are still living in hotel/motel rooms across the country paid for by FEMA that they must request an authorization code by Monday, January 30, 2006 in order to have their hotel stay paid for beyond February 7, 2006.
The February 7 extension and authorization code requirement of January 30 are consistent with a Court Order issued earlier this month. There will be no further extensions in the FEMA hotel/motel subsidy program. An aggressive outreach campaign by FEMA continues educating evacuees on this important date.
Evacuees in hotels and motels must contact FEMA by January 30 at 1-800-621-FEMA (for the TTY caller, 1-800-462-7585) to receive a unique authorization code that must be presented to a hotel or motel to extend the federal subsidy for their hotel stay beyond the night of Feb. 6. The code is also required for evacuees who change hotels or are checking in for the first time. Over 12,000 applicants had already received codes from FEMA as of midnight January 22nd, representing approximately 44% of the current hotel population of 27,000 rooms.
The FEMA authorization code program has a few, simple important dates:
- January 30, 2006. Evacuees must request an authorization code by Jan. 30, 2006, in order to extend the federal subsidy for their hotel stay beyond February 7, 2006.
- February 7, 2006. If an evacuee does not get an authorization code by Jan. 30, 2006, FEMA will stop paying for that hotel room on Feb. 7, 2006.
- February 13, 2006. If an evacuee gets an authorization code by Jan. 30, 2006, FEMA will continue to pay for that hotel room until at least Feb. 13, 2006.
If evacuees have not received an eligibility decision on temporary housing assistance by Jan. 30, 2006, FEMA will continue to pay for that hotel room through March 1, 2006, or two weeks after receiving eligibility determination, whichever is later. In every case, FEMA will fund the hotel or motel room for evacuees for two weeks after they have received a determination on their request for assistance from FEMA. Evacuees DO NOT need to complete a Small Business Administration loan application to be eligible for FEMA housing assistance.
- When an evacuee calls for their authorization code, FEMA will let them know when FEMA will stop paying for their hotel room.
The authorization code allows FEMA to work closely with individuals and families displaced by the hurricanes to ensure they are registered with FEMA for assistance and to ensure they are fully processed for rental assistance eligibility before making the transition to longer-term housing. In addition, the authorization code process will help FEMA make referrals to other assistance sources if individuals are not eligible for FEMA programs and will aid in identifying individuals who may be attempting to exploit the program.
FEMA initiated an extensive outreach effort to help people understand program end dates and access other forms of assistance to help them with longer term housing solutions. In addition to the community relations teams that have been fanning out and canvassing hotels in an effort to reach those still residing in hotels and motels, flyers and notices have been placed in every room occupied by hurricane evacuees on four occasions since January 9th announcement that the program would be coming to an end. Additional flyers will be distributed again this week as well.
FEMA has so far provided rental assistance to more than 750,000 families affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Although most evacuees nationwide are already situated in apartments, trailers or other types of longer-term housing, fewer than 27,000 families still remain in hotels and motels nationwide. More than $400 million has been spent by FEMA to pr...