Some Storm Victims are Worried About the Rent - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/21/06 - Lufkin

Some Storm Victims are Worried About the Rent

by Ramonica R. Jones

Since Hurricane Katrina hit, FEMA has gotten more than three million requests for some type of disaster relief. Robin Parks is one of those applicants. She left Jasper after Hurricane Rita destroyed her home. She's lived in a FEMA-paid apartment in Lufkin for about four months.

"I spoke to a FEMA representative about three weeks ago and the lady told me I had like a couple of more months," said Parks. "But when I first talked to a representative a month ago, the lady told me I had for about a year, so I really don't know. It's like back and forth."

Once emergency sheltering ends, some Katrina storm victims will be eligible for continued disaster housing assistance until February 2007. FEMA will pay for qualified Rita evacuees until next March.

June 1st is the deadline for applicants who do not qualify for continued relief from FEMA.

Parks said, "On my job, I don't make that much money to front the rent, so, if I receive a letter, then I'm gonna have to go back to a shelter or go back to Jasper."

Even with the government's help, some storm victims are still struggling financially because FEMA is only partially picking up the tab at some apartment complexes.

Linda Haskins, Red Cross administrative assistant, said, "Some are having problems with the difference because there's a schedule of how much the rent is paid, so they have to pay the difference of what the rent is due."

FEMA is currently notifying storm victims about the length of time they'll receive rental assistance. Representatives are reviewing each case individually, but if you do not hear from them, call 1-800-621-FEMA to find out if you qualify for continued help or go to and click on FAQs for Disaster Assistance.

FEMA representatives said there are more than a dozen different reasons some storm victims won't qualify for continued disaster relief. Some evacuees may not have filled out the right paperwork, others already had insurance on their damaged property, or FEMA simply may not be able to reach them.

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