WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that the transition of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) rental assistance program from FEMA to HUD will be as seamless as possible for the approximately 30,000 FEMA-assisted families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita currently living in private rental units. HUD also announced it has established a toll free call center number, 1-866-373-9509, to answer questions about the transition. The call center will take calls from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the weekends.”We are trying to make every effort to ease the concerns of these families and assure them there will be no break in payments,” explained HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. “Some families recently received correspondence indicating the current contractor would not be making payments after August. I want to clarify thatFEMA’s contractor, Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC), will continue to make payments to landlords through October 2007 for those families who FEMA certified as eligible for assistance. Starting November 1, 2007, HUD will assume responsibility through local public housing agencies (PHAs) for future payments.”
HUD will use its extensive national network of PHAs to provide housing assistance and case management services to eligible families. The program will also assist families move toward self-sufficiency.
All families who are determined eligible by FEMA who are receiving rental housing assistance through FEMA and living in private rental units are eligible for and will be transitioned into this program. There is nothing these families need to do at this point to qualify. 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 Department will post final operating procedures on its website on or about August 17, 2007 and will conduct a satellite broadcast on August 23, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
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 eligible families through October 2007 to assure there is no interruption in rental subsidy payments to landlords. PHAs will assume this responsibility effective November 1, 2007.
- FEMA will continue to make rental assistance payments directly to eligible families who have been paying their own landlords through October 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 November 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.