A congressional committee is planning to meet tomorrow for a hearing on emergency housing assistance concerns in the region affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Robert W. Ney, R-Ohio, will meet on Thursday at 10 a.m. in room 2128 of the Rayburn Building in Washington, D.C.

The hearing, “Housing Options in the Aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” will focus on the Federal government’s response to the emergency housing needs of residents affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hotel program for evacuees.

“The recent hurricanes have brought unprecedented devastation to the Gulf Coast region,” said Ney. “I look forward to hearing from FEMA about the ongoing housing efforts for evacuees and what plans are in place to work with state and local partners to ensure these families can become self-reliant again and reclaim some normalcy in their lives.”

On Sept. 23, FEMA and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced two distinct programs to address the housing needs resulting from Hurricane Katrina. The majority of individuals in need of housing will be assisted through FEMA’s Individual and Household Grants program, which makes grants to localities to assist disaster victims whose needs cannot be met through other means.

IHG program funds have a wide range of eligible uses, including temporary housing, funds for mortgage or rental payments, counseling services, unemployment assistance and medical assistance.

To meet the short-term housing needs of victims displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA began a hotel program that subsidizes hotel rooms while long-term housing solutions were found. FEMA’s hotel program has been housing victims in 29 states and has been extended through Jan. 7, 2006.

David E. Garratt, acting director, Recovery Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, is scheduled to testify at the hearing.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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