The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued more then 3,600 authorizations codes for Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees still living in Texas hotels and motels. Houston Public Radio’s Rod Rice reports.
The deadline for getting the authorization was the end of January. Those who got an authorization can stay where they are until February 13th. Those who didn’t get authorization will lose their payments for housing tomorrow.
FEMA’s Libby Turner says nationally about 80% of those receiving direct pay for hotels asked for authorization codes. She says FEMA believes those who did not had good reasons for taking no action.
Families are moving out because they’ve made other long term arraignments, with or without FEMA assistance. Some families may continue to rent rooms using their own resources or those provided by FEMA while they continue to make long term housing plans. And then there may have been some people who were purposely abusing the program or inadvertently misusing the program and they will simply move on February 7th.
Turner says some families, depending on when they asked for assistance may have until March 1st before FEMA stops paying for their hotel rooms, but as of today March 1st is the end of the program.
We will continue to work with the families in the hotels that have the authorizations codes to make sure that they have either received FEMA assistance, or have been referred to other resources before they transition out of our emergency program. But the emergency sheltering program can not and will not continue indefinitely.
Turner says March 11th is the deadline for those who have not yet applied for any help from FEMA to request assistance for the federal agency.