FEMA Recertification Deadline

Katrina evacuees are once again facing another FEMA deadline in order to continue receiving assistance. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports FEMA and the Joint Hurricane Task Force are trying to get evacuees to get their paperwork in by the end of this week.

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"This is the Katrina Housing Task Force with an urgent message. October 31st is the last day FEMA has agreed to pay for your housing unless you recertify ..."

That's the phone message Katrina evacuees received regarding the upcoming deadline. City officials estimate that 25 percent of 24,000 qualifying households have gone through the recertification process. Task Force Spokeswoman Cindy Gabriel says this deadline applies to evacuees in the 4-0-8 Individual Assistance Program for rental assistance. Gabriel says evacuees need to answer every question on the form.

"Attach appropriate documents when asked and if you don't have them, attach a four sentence explanation for why you don't have them. Because that's just the way it is. It's a bureaucratic procedure and you have to answer the questions."

The Task Force is holding a workshop tomorrow from 1:00 to 8:00 pm to help evacuees through the process. It will be held at the West Gray Adaptive Recreation Center at 1475 West Gray. FEMA Houston Area Field Office Senior Official Philip Parks says they want evacuees to get their forms in by the end of this week.

"They will have the opportunity to maintain their rental assistance up to February 28, 2007. It's not necessarily a guarantee. And once again it would depend on each individual household's circumstance."

February 28 marks 18 months after the disaster and the limit under current law for FEMA to provide assistance. Parks says part of the recertification process requires evacuees to include a housing plan for the future once assistance ends.

"The recertification process should encourage the evacuee household to look ahead, move ahead, to reconstitute their lives and also to assist, to give some structure to that plan and some structure to their record keeping so they can help us help them."

You can find links to information on the recertification process at K-U-H-F dot org. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

Click on How to Recertify on the left side of the Home Page under Printable Flyers.

Evacuee Workshop
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
1:00pm to 8:00pm
West Gray Adaptive Recreation Center
1475 West Gray

Also, a televised program explaining the recertification process can be viewed on the Municipal Channel 16 and the Public Access Channel 17.

"Recertify Now!"
Public Access Channel 17
Tuesday: 12:30am, 10:00am, 4:00pm
Wednesday: 12:30am
Friday: 10:00am, 4:00pm

Municipal Channel 16
Monday: 12:00pm, 6:00pm
Wednesday: 1:30pm, 7:30pm
Friday: 2:00pm, 8:00pm

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