HUD Assumes FEMA Rental Payments for Hurricane Victims
Washington, DC -- To ensure all eligible families who were displaced by the 2005 hurricanes will continue to receive seamless rental assistance, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) will delay, by one-month, the complete transfer of FEMA's rental assistance program to HUD.
HUD, through a network of local public housing authorities (PHAs), will begin paying rents for families who are eligible to receive FEMA rental assistance beginning December 1st. Either FEMA directly or through its contractor, Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC), will continue paying landlords through November with PHAs picking up rent payments beginning December 1st through the duration of the program. HUD does not expect a disruption of service.
"HUD and FEMA are working closely to ensure eligible families will continue to get the housing assistance they need," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "We want to assure families there will be continuity in rent payments and you will not lose your housing assistance."
FEMA and HUD announced in April this year that FEMA's rental housing program would be transferred to HUD. HUD, working with a network of PHAs that already administer HUD rental assistance programs, would implement and manage the temporary rental assistance under the new Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP). DHAP allows families who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to stay in rental housing after the storms. These families were not previously HUD-assisted.
Last month, HUD began fully implementing DHAP with the help of PHAs across the U.S. that have agreed to participate. Currently, more than 300 PHAs have given tentative agreements, with 200 agencies signing a contract with HUD that allows them to pay landlords with DHAP funds and begin case management with individual families. HUD expects to have at least 600 PHAs administering the program before it ends. The 200 PHAs currently on board will cover the vast majority of the families who FEMA has determined are eligible for the new HUD-administered DHAP.
Participating PHAs have already begun outreach with families, linking them with case managers that help families get access to job training, housing counseling and other forms of support, enabling them to regain self-sufficiency.
"The extensive case management PHAs can provide will prepare families for the gradual decline in housing assistance to independence that will occur next spring," continued Jackson.
Under DHAP, beginning on March 1, 2008, HUD would use a transitional approach to help families continue along the path to self-sufficiency. For example, starting March 1, 2008, the level of rental assistance will be reduced by $50 per month successively, with the goal of leading families closer to complete housing independence. For example, if a family has an $850 rental apartment, it would be required to contribute $50 toward the rent starting in March 2008, which would rise to $100 in April 2008; $150 in May 2008, etc. To the extent allowable by law, seniors and the disabled who qualify would continue to receive the full subsidy required to pay their rent throughout the duration of the program.
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