New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 30, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 7A
FEMA extends evacuees’ deadline for hotel rentals
The Department of I Iome-land Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced a two-week extension of the deadline for termination of FEMA’s hotel program for evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Upon application by the governor, FEMA will further extend the termination deadline for the IO states with the highest concentration of evacuees through lait. 7, 2006.
To accommodate efforts to move all evacuees out of hotels and into apartments and longer-term homes, FEMA has extended the previously announced end of the federally reimbursed hotel program, which had been Dec. I.
With 29 states lodging less than IOO families each, the task of locating housing before the holidays is an attainable goal.
For example, the state of New York is hosting 273 households, which means they need to place roughly 12 families a day in order to have everyone in homes by Dec. 15.
The IO states with the highest concentration of evacuees in hotel rooms will have until Jan. 7 to help evacuees find longer-term housing on the condition that they provide PEMA with a plan to reach the Jan. 7 deadline. The IO states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.
More than 92 percent of the approximately 50,000 families still living in hotel rooms are located in these IO states.
“Our top priority remains addressing the long-term needs of millions of hurricane victims. Today we offered an extension to the end of the hotel program because we are committed
“Our top priority remains addressing the long-term needs of millions of hurricane victims.”
— David Paulison
Acting FEMA director
to working with governors and mayors to move evacuees out of hotels and into long-term housing,” said acting FEMA Director David Paulison. “We recognize that finding housing is a challenge, but this is a doable task and we are confident that as we work together we will improve the quality of life for thousands of evacuees.”
FEMA will require the IO states receiving further extensions up to Jan. 7 to outline plans and timelines for completing the placement of evacuee households into qualified temporary housing.
FEMA also will require those states to submit periodic status reports outlining their progress in meeting in conjunction with extensions of the hotel program beyond Dec. 15.
FEMA will continue to provide rental assistance to hurricane victims across the country for up to 18 months.
That means that by Jan. 7, tens of thousands of Katrina victims will have had a safe, private and comfortable home, he it a hotel or motel room, for four and a half months after the storm at no cost to them and without reducing their eligibility for other FEMA assistance.
EMA has provided $500 million to hurricane evacuees in the last seven days and has provided more than $4.4 billion to 1.4 million families affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes, to date.
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Evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita living in Texas now have another way to help themselves move toward recovery through the Housing, Employment, Location and Placement Program.
The program is available from the U.S. Department of Flomeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state of Texas and city housing authorities.
The HELP Program was designed to smooth out the process for relocating evacuees from hotels and shelters into more adequate housing through an efficient and coordinated delivery system. With assistance from government, state and local resources, evacuees will receive help in
finding jobs, education and addressing special needs and other resources needed to foster their recovery.
Evacuees have until Dec. 15 to complete their transition. FEMA may further extend the deadline through Jan. 7,2006, upon receiving an application from the governor and the state submitting a plan and timeline for completing the placement of evacuee households into qualified temporary housing.
“We are working aggressively to get people relocated from hotels to more adequate longterm housing," FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman said. “We are calling on everyone in the state of Texas in our coordinated
Kathleen Steindorf wraps presents for foster children in CPS custody Tuesday evening.
CONTINUED FROM Page 1A
Volunteers make Christmas special
during December by each child’s CPS case worker.
While most of the children asked for items for themselves, the volunteers were touched but not surprised by one young girls request.
“She asked for a game for her brother," said event coordinator Chloe Hrechko. “That really captures the spirit of Christmas.”
Hrechko, who divided up the wish lists among the shop-
pers, said the volunteers received almost as much from the experience as the children.
“One of our donors shopped all of the sales to get the items one child wanted. It wasn’t easy, because she had to stay under her $100 limit, but she did it," Hrechko said. “She really wanted to make sure that little boy got everything he wanted.”
Thanks to donations received throughout the year, the CCCWB was able to spend roughly $6,000 on the (Christmas presents.
“We’re so thankful we can do this for the kids with the community’s help,” Hrechko said.
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effort to find more permanent housing for the Katrina evacuees and to ensure they continue to be supported in every way in this move to independence.”
Strike Team members are visiting evacuees in hotels in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Beaumont. The teams include FEMA Community Relations outreach staff and voluntary agency representatives who will sit down with evacuees to help fill out long-term housing surveys and return the forms for further processing.
Evacuees who have registered with FEMA may be eligible for FEMA’s rental assistance program, which covers certain households displaced
by Rita or Katrina who were formerly homeowners or renters in the impacted areas. Team members will assist evacuees in updating their FEMA registration information and register those who have not yet applied.
The survey information will be used to find resources to meet special needs of evacuees. People who want to return to Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi should be able to do so through this program and those who want to stay in Texas will receive assistance getting settled.
A total of 16,048 hotel rooms are currently occupied by more than 40,000 hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees.
Officer injured, suspect surrenders
FORT WORTH (AP) — A standoff with a man suspected of critically wounding a Fort Worth police officer ended Tuesday with the gunman’s surrender.
The officer, whose name wasn’t immediately released, was shot in the head while trying to serve a warrant at a mobile home about 2 p.m. in a growing suburban area of northwest Fort Worth.
He was airlifted to a Fort Worth hospital for surgery and was listed as critical, said Lt. Dean Sullivan, a police spokesman.
After the shooting, the suspected gunman fled the home where the warrant was being served and went to another nearby home, Sullivan said.
Sullivan said one person in that home escaped and callet! 911. A 25-year-old woman who remained was
later released by the suspect as police negotiated with him by phone, Sullivan said.
“She’s shaken up, she’s been in there held against her will for a period of time,” Sullivan said, adding that the woman appeared
About 5 p.m., a man was seen being escorted to a police car in handcuffs, and police confirmed the standoff was over.
The suspect was not immediately identified, but Sullivan described him as being about 40 years old. Sullivan said the man had suffered a gunshot wound to the upper torso in an initial exchange of gunfire with police at the mobile home.
Sullivan said the shooting happened as officers were looking into leads related to a chase Sunday involving Sansom Park police.
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