HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has extended its temporary disaster housing assistance program for 11,400 families who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who are currently registered in the program. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson made the announcement today with Guy Rankin, the executive director of the Harris County Housing Authority, at Primrose at Heritage Park, a senior housing apartment complex in Houston where 80 relocated families are using HUD’s Disaster Voucher Program (DVP).
“As we approach the second anniversary of one of this nation’s worst natural disasters, I’m pleased HUD can extend the program for families who still need help,” said Jackson, who greeted low-income New Orleans’ evacuees living at the facility. “We want all families who benefited from HUD’s housing programs before Katrina and Rita struck to continue to get assistance.”
DVP, which covers housing costs for families who lived in public housing or received other HUD rental assistance but were displaced by the hurricanes, was originally scheduled to end on September 30th. Eligible families must register by September 1st, 2007 to receive this temporary housing assistance.
The DVP extension announced today is being implemented as follows:
- Families who lived in public housing prior to the storm are projected to continue receiving DVP assistance until June 30, 2008, based on current available funding and the number of families assisted. This extension also covers families who are assisted by other HUD housing programs, including those in senior and disabled housing, those in multifamily housing and families who were homeless prior to the storms. There are 3,800 families who will continue to receive assistance in this category.
- Families who participated in HUD’s regular housing voucher program, known as Section 8 or the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), prior to the storms will return to the HCV program that covered the cost of their housing. These families were transferred to DVP assistance temporarily to ensure they continued to receive their housing subsidy during the recovery period. These 7,600 families will be reverted to the original program.
Families who were displaced by the hurricanes who have not registered for a disaster voucher must do so as soon as possible by contacting the public housing authority (PHA) where they currently reside or where they want to live. While new admissions for the DVP end on September 1st, PHAs that administer the DVP program in local communities need time to process new families in their systems to meet a September 30th deadline to use the DVP funding Congress appropriated. Families who were receiving HUD rental assistance or those who were homeless prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are eligible for DVP assistance.
HUD created DVP to ensure families who were receiving HUD rental assistance prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita would continue to receive assistance under this temporary voucher program. Families were issued vouchers to cover the cost of housing in the city where they relocated. At its peak, 30,700 families were using DVP to cover their housing costs. Currently, 11,400 families remain on the program. Other families who were originally on DVP have found permanent housing, which allowed them to move off the temporary program.
In addition to announcing the DVP extension, Jackson also announced that the Housing Authority of New Orleans has selected the University of Texas to conduct a survey of all of the residents who lived in public housing prior to Hurricane Katrina to determine if they want to return to New Orleans. Jackson repeated something he said after seeing Katrina’s destruction, “Families who want to come back to New Orleans should have the opportunity to come back. HUD’s goal is to bring families back to quality housing and safe communities.”
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.