As we reported here, people made homeless by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had faced looming deadlines to return paperwork necessary to keep getting rental assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We say "had," because FEMA has now extended the deadlines for tens of thousands of households counting on government checks to keep roofs over their heads.
FEMA announced today that some 19,000 Texas households with a July 31 deadline to recertify for assistance, as well as thousands of others facing a similar deadline at the end of August, now have until October 31 to file the necessary documents--rent receipts, a housing plan and documentation of efforts to find work.
"We recognize that the time is short, and we understand the confusion that evacuees have with the various government programs," Robert "Bob" Bennett, chief of staff and special assistant to E.C. "Butch" Smith, director of the Texas Transitional Recovery Office in Austin, stated in a FEMA press release. "We are happy to report that FEMA's leadership has agreed to take this step as a compassionate way to help disaster victims recover their footing."
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Of course, people who lost everything to the storms probably aren't busy reading blogs or the back pages of newspapers, so if you happen to know any desperate evacuees, you might do them a favor and pass this news on. --Patrick Williams