HUD, FEMA Launch Rental Assistance Program for Families Displaced During Ike

By Anuradha Khrer, Online News EditorHouston–The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have jointly launched a rental assistance program that will provide temporary rental payments and case management services to help thousands of families displaced by Hurricane Ike. The new program, slated to begin Nov. 1, 2008, will help families find intermediate housing.”It is critical that we provide a degree of stability in the lives of these families until they can get back on their feet,” says HUD Secretary Steve Preston. “Knowing you have a roof over your family’s head for the next 18 months should alleviate at least one major concern.”FEMA Deputy Administrator, Admiral Harvey Johnson, adds, “Today we are reaffirming our commitment to help Texas and its citizens recover from the damages sustained from Hurricane Ike.  FEMA and HUD have moved quickly to support the housing needs of Texas, and we are moving faster than ever to provide needed resources and assistance to achieve the state’s recovery and housing plans.” FEMA and HUD agreed on a program that builds on the program that housed families following the 2005 hurricanes, which continues to support 30,000 families. The Disaster Housing Assistance Program-IKE (DHAP-IKE) will be executed through an interagency agreement between FEMA and HUD.  It is slated to run for 18 months, beginning November 1. FEMA will determine the families that qualify for assistance. HUD, working with an extensive network of public housing agencies (PHAs) that already administer the DHAP program for families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and HUD’s regular rental assistance program, will oversee and manage the program. Initially, HUD will provide full rental assistance to approved families. Beginning May 1, 2009, families will be responsible for paying $50 per month. Every month thereafter, the family’s portion of the rent will increase in increments of $50 until the program ends in April 2010.