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Hurricane Assistance Information Resources

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Hurricane Assistance Information Resources
Issue 29, Fall 2005

Hurricane Assistance Information Resources

by Jim Schaafsma, MPLP Housing Law Attorney

If you need to get information about the rights of and assistance available to hurricane survivors who've relocated to Michigan, there are many resources to consult. They include:

The "Help for Hurricane" victims two-sheeter presents a good overview of federal assistance programs (housing and non-housing) for hurricane survivors.

Among helpful websites are the National Low Income Housing Coalition's (www.nlihc.org) (click on "Housing Policy Responses to Hurricane Katrina"), the www.femaanswers.org site, a collaborative effort based on the wikipedia model. Also, the National Housing Law Project's site (www.nhlp.org) has an easily accessible list of relevant government agency links.

The basic temporary or transitional housing resources available to Katrina survivors take two basic forms: FEMA assistance, through its Individuals and Households Programs (IHP), for displaced homeowners and private market tenants, and the newly created Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP), a HUD voucher-type (not Section 8) program for families who were homeless or living in HUD subsidized units when the disaster struck. There's a good side-by-side comparison of these programs on the NLIHC site. (http://nlihc.org/news/093005.html).

Both programs are flawed (for example, neither provides assistance in meeting utility obligations), and are being tinkered with. One notable feature of the FEMA IHP temporary housing assistance program is that while families may be eligible for 18 months of assistance, in order to get assistance beyond the initial payment of $2358 intended to cover three months of housing costs, a family must show proof that the initial payment went towards housing expenses.

 


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