NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reminding applicants that the temporary housing program for families of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ends on May 1, 2009. Applicants currently receiving FEMA temporary housing assistance will begin receiving their notifications informing them that they must vacate the housing unit by May 1, 2009.
In response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA conducted the largest temporary housing operation in the history of the country, providing temporary housing units to more than 143,000 families across the Gulf Coast. FEMA has moved 96 percent of these households out of temporary housing units as residents move into long-term housing solutions. Additionally, FEMA has provided more than $7.8 billion in housing and other needs assistance (e.g. transportation, clothing, furniture) to roughly 1.5 million households affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
FEMA's temporary housing program for hurricanes Katrina and Rita, scheduled to end on May 1, 2009, reflects 26 months of rent-free assistance beyond the statutory 18-month limit of housing assistance. FEMA has offered each household at least three rental resources that meets the household's individual housing needs, such as number of bedrooms, accessibility, within Fair Market Rent (FMR) established by HUD for the area, and within a reasonable commuting distance. FEMA also offered to immediately move any household with a health concern to alternate housing. This offer was made to every household residing in a temporary housing unit.
FEMA will also continue to allow participants in park models and mobile homes to purchase their units under the Temporary Housing Units Sales-to-Occupants program. In accordance with FEMA policy, FEMA will only sell those units that meet or exceed the state's approved acceptable levels of formaldehyde for occupied park models and mobile homes.
FEMA is making every effort to assist individuals and families to find long term housing to fulfill their needs. FEMA will continue over the next several weeks to visit and work with each household to transition them into more suitable, long-term housing options until the end of the program. For those who do not vacate their housing unit by May 1, 2009, FEMA will follow its Lease Termination Policy for these individuals.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.