Initial Ike Damage assessment finished.

Harris County has completed its preliminary assessment of residential properties damaged by hurricane Ike. The number could effect how many families will get financial help from FEMA. Bill Stamps explains.
After sending out teams on foot and in the air, the Harris County Housing Authority has calculated that Hurricane Ike caused some 8-and billion dollars worth of damage to residences. Out of that more than 17-thousand homes were totaled. And it's those families that will be eligible for FEMA Housing Assistance distributed through the county.

Housing Authority Chairman Casey Wallace.

"And we will provide them with 18-months worth of rental assistance and social services. And for six months we will pay their rent. The seventh month a step up and step down process will begin where there will pay 50 dollars, and we'll pay the rest of it."

There are two programs: one for homes that had roof or other damage. Homeowners apply for that online. The housing program is for those whose homes were destroyed and now have no place to live at all. Three years after Katrina there are still people with no permanent housing -- that's not expected to be a problem here.

"People displaced from this storm are still in this generally still in this same area. People displaced from Katrina and Rita came hundreds some thousands of miles away. They're scattered in 43 different states so it's a different fact situation."

Bill Stamps. KUHF Houston Public Radio News.