|HUD No. 09-071
May 21, 2009
TIME RUNNING OUT FOR FAMILIES TO GET DISASTER HOUSING ASSISTANCE
HUD launches regional advertising campaign to encourage Hurricane Ike, Gustav families to register by calling housing authority or HUD�s Referral Call Center 1 (866) 785-3239.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is launching a regional print and radio advertising campaign to encourage families who were displaced by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008 to register for disaster housing assistance.
HUD's campaign will begin appearing next week in newspapers and on radio in parts of East Texas and Louisiana where families have relocated following last year's hurricanes. In particular, the campaign will be targeted in Houston, Galveston, and Port Arthur, Texas as well as Houma and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In addition, advertising will also be targeted to Houston Spanish-language media.
The Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP-Ike/Gustav) was established by HUD and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist families who were displaced by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav with up to 17 months of temporary housing assistance. Since October 2008, FEMA has made direct payments to families to cover their rent payment if they have not completed the process for DHAP assistance.
These direct payments ended this month. Families who have not responded to repeated requests from HUD or a local housing authority to participate in DHAP will be responsible for paying their rent beginning June 1st.
"We have serious concern for approximately 7,000 families who we know are eligible for continued rent assistance but have not responded to calls or letters to enroll in the program," said Tony Hebert, HUD's Director of Disaster Housing Voucher Programs. "We strongly urge families who need this continued assistance to sign up by May 31st to allow housing authorities enough time to begin making rent payments for June."
Since November 2008, FEMA has referred approximately 51,000 families. Approximately 28,200 of these families have declined assistance, primarily because they didn't need it or HUD and the housing authority were unable to contact the family after repeated attempts. An additional 3,000 families are recent referrals from FEMA and are in the process of being contacted by HUD or a housing authority about DHAP assistance.
Only 19,000 families of the 51,000 originally referred by FEMA have agreed to participate in the DHAP program. To date, 13,687 of these families are receiving rental assistance under DHAP. The remaining 5,400 are close to signing a contract. They are working with PHAs to locate units, complete unit inspections or complete landlord paperwork.
HUD is encouraging families who received eligibility letters from FEMA and need this continued assistance to contact the public housing authority they were assigned or call toll-free HUD's Referral Call Center at 1 (866) 785-3239.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.