The Bush Administration continues to provide coordinated, long-term housing solutions for Gulf Coast residents displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As previously announced, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be taking over long-term rental assistance for approximately 45,000 eligible families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through a program called the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP). With an interagency agreement between HUD and FEMA, DHAP will be vital for helping families rebuild their lives, get on a path to self-sufficiency and have the opportunity to return home, if they choose.
Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) - Rental Housing Assistance and Case Management Services
HUD will use its extensive national network of Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to provide housing assistance and case management services for eligible families. The program will also assist families in continuing to move toward self-sufficiency.
Families currently receiving rental housing assistance through FEMA and living in private rental units are eligible for this program. There is nothing these families need to do at this point to qualify. FEMA will recertify each family before transferring the program to HUD. Eligible families are expected to experience a seamless transition into DHAP and will be contacted by the PHA administering DHAP in the jurisdiction in which the family resides.
The DHAP will be implemented as follows:
- Beginning September 1, 2007, PHAs will begin outreach and intensive case management services to help displaced families rebuild their lives and return to self-sufficiency.
- FEMA’s existing contractor (CLC) will continue to make rental assistance payments on behalf of these families through October 2007 to assure that there is no interruption in rental subsidy payments to landlords. PHAs will assume this responsibility effective December 1, 2007.
- FEMA will continue to make rental assistance payments directly to those families who have been paying their own landlords through November 2007 to assure there is no interruption in assistance. PHAs will also assume responsibility for these rent payments effective November 1, 2007 but such payments will be made directly to landlords.
- Prior to December 1, 2007, PHAs will contact the landlords and ensure the necessary documents are in place so that those families will continue to receive uninterrupted assistance payments through DHAP. The families do not have to take any action. PHAs will provide search assistance to those families that need to move as a result of the transition.
- Beginning January 2008, HUD will begin working with FEMA to transition eligible families out of travel trailers and into rental housing in the private market.
- On March 1, 2008, the level of subsidy will begin to be reduced, which will gradually lead families toward independence. Program participants will pay a portion of the cost, which will begin at $50 per month and incrementally increase each month thereafter until the program concludes on March 1, 2009.
- Residents in the program will also receive case management services coordinated by PHAs to help them get back on their feet, including financial education, job training or other social services.
- Families and individuals in the program will be given complete information, supportive services, resources and ample time to prepare themselves for the end of temporary, subsidized housing.
- Seniors and the disabled whose primary source of income is Supplemental Security Income or other fixed income that make them eligible to receive assistance under existing HUD programs will be protected. HUD, through its network of PHAs, will actively work to transition these individuals into its existing programs.
HUD has established a referral call center with a toll-free number for families and PHAs seeking additional information. PHAs who are interested in administering DHAP, and FEMA families who are currently receiving assistance, may now contact HUD at 1-866-373-9509. Operators are available beginning August 1, 2007, Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 7:00pm EDT, 9:00am to 1:00pm EDT on Saturday and Sunday.