More Housing Help is Available for Future Storm Victims - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/29/06 - Lufkin

More Housing Help is Available for Future Storm Victims

by Ramonica R. Jones

The Deep East Texas Council of Governments helped hundreds of New Orleans storm victims find a place to live after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their homes. Less than a month later, Rita hit. The agency spent a million and a half dollars paying evacuees' rent.

Charlie Simmons, DETCOG executive board member, said, "By this time, we had exhausted most of our ways of helping people. We had three counties in our DETCOG region, they were just devastated."

DETCOG serves a 12-county region. Newton, Jasper, Tyler, and Shelby counties are some of the towns now home to former New Orleans residents. But the group did more than help house storm victims after Katrina.

"We took load after load of those ready-to-eat meals, ice, water, and those type of things" to local shelters.

DETCOG's executive director is in Austin trying to get more federal funding for future disasters. More than a hundred families from both Katrina and Rita are still scattered throughout East Texas. Most of them are in Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

FEMA has reimbursed DETCOG most of the money the agency spent on housing after the storms. DETCOG found housing for about a thousand Katrina storm survivors. Forty percent of them ended up in Nacogdoches County.

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