U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced 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 field calls from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST weekdays, and from 9 a.m. until 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 would like to clarify that FEMA's contractor, Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC), will continue to make payments to landlords through October 2007. Those families who receive rental assistance directly from FEMA also will continue to receive these rent payments for September and October from FEMA. Starting November 1, 2007, HUD will assume responsibility through local Public Housing Agencies for all future payments."
HUD will use its extensive national network of public housing agencies (PHAs) to provide housing assistance and case management services to eligible families. The program will also assist families in continuing to move toward self-sufficiency.
All families currently 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.