HUD Offers Housing Assistance to Hurricane Victims

Families forced out of their homes by Hurricane Ike might be eligible for temporary rental payments from the government. Pat Hernandez tells us that the Disaster Housing Assistance program will begin November first.
The program is made possible by FEMA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is designed with incentives and controls for families to receive temporary rental assistance payments and case management services. It's an effort to help them return to self sufficiency.

Milan Ozdinec: "We're asking families to think now about where they want to live. And then, we're going to do our level-best to get them as close to that location as is possible."

Milan Ozdinec is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Housing and Voucher Programs for HUD. He says they work with the local public housing authority.

"The evacuee family agrees to their obligations, including compliance with the lease, that they agree to case management, and meet all the other program requirements that are part of the DFI program. If all those requirements are met, and the unit meets a basic housing quality standard, the housing authority will pay the rent directly to the landlord, on that family's behalf."

Through next March, families referred to HUD will get their rent paid in full.

"Starting in March of 2009, each family will have to pay 50-dollars for rent, and then the housing authority will pay the difference between the contract rent and what the family pays. In April, the family will have to pay a hundred dollars, in May, 150 dollars, in 50-dollar increments through the course of the program until March of 2010."

Almost 7-thousand families are being assisted by the program. More information can be found at www.fema.gov or by calling 866 373-9509.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF...Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...