Press Statement at the DHAP-Ike Agreement Announcement
REMARKS PREPARED FOR
STEVE PRESTON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2008
Good morning. Thank you all for coming. I am pleased to join Governor (Rick) Perry to discuss the response to Hurricane Ike. I appreciate FEMA Deputy Administrator Admiral Harvey Johnson for being here. I also want to recognize the leadership of Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn for their efforts to help displaced families.
I was just here a week ago. I surveyed the devastation along the Texas coast. I said at the time that I wanted to see the governmental response first-hand. I also said that my department would continue to work with other federal agencies to do everything possible to help people in need.
So within my department we have created the Disaster Housing Assistance Program-IKE (“DHAP–IKE”). This nearly $500 million program will provide a transparent and predictable means to deliver timely rental assistance for eligible families displaced by the hurricane. This is a good program, one that will help families in need.
Today I am pleased to announce that FEMA and HUD have reached an agreement that provides temporary rental payments and case management to help families who were displaced by Hurricane Ike. The new program, slated to begin November 1, 2008, will help these families find intermediate housing as they rebuild their lives. It mirrors the successful program that housed families following the 2005 hurricanes, which continues to support 30,000 families.
HUD, through its network of Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), will work with families and landlords to assure that eligible families can find a suitable apartment while they are in the process of rebuilding and returning to self-sufficiency.
HUD will use its network of local public housing authorities (PHAs) to administer the program where families reside.
FEMA will begin referring families to HUD by October 15, 2008, so that HUD can contract with its local PHAs for the deliver of DHAP–IKE services starting November 1, 2008.
HUD has already deployed a team to Texas to meet with local public housing officials to work on the operational details of DHAP-IKE. PHAs will work with families and landlords to enter into rental assistance contracts as soon as families are referred by FEMA and begin case management.
To put families on the path to self-sufficiency, all eligible families will begin contributing $50 toward their rent starting May 1, 2009. Every month thereafter, the family portion of the rent will increase in increments of $50 through March of 2010.
The program provides a hardship waiver of the $50 payment for families that prove that they cannot afford the rent increment. The details of the hardship provision will be explained in standard operating procedures that will be published shortly.
So, what should families do next?
They must register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
They must make certain that the information provided to FEMA is accurate and that your contact information is up to date.
Families should confirm where they want to live on November 2008 and make sure any changes are provided to FEMA immediately.
Families should remember the information provided to FEMA will be how we can contact you for eligibility for DHAP – IKE.
I urge every family to contact FEMA immediately…don’t wait. Do it now!
Together, we can get through this and rebuild our lives and our cities. This solution will cover the housing needs of thousands of Texans and is an important component of the overall plan.