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Congressman Al Green Introduces Bill to Offer Housing Assistance to Low-Income Katrina Survivors
Washington, D.C. Congressman Al Green (TX-09) today announced that he will introduce the Gulf Coast Housing Accessibility Act to address several of the housing issues faced by survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The bill, which is companion legislation to a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), would specifically provide funding for project-based housing vouchers, offer greater flexibility for disaster assistance, and reorganize housing assistance. Green has visited New Orleans five times since Hurricane Katrina struck last year, and has witnessed first-hand the residents need for affordable housing. The legislation is an attempt to bring immediate and long-term assistance to individuals who lost their homes to the hurricane. Greens legislation would be funded by offsetting spending cuts to prevent increasing the deficit.
One year after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, it is unconscionable that many survivors remain homeless, residing in temporary housing situations due to shortages in affordable housing, Green said. My legislation would provide immediate and long-term housing assistance to the most vulnerable victims of Hurricane Katrina the working poor, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and others who have been unable to replace the homes they lost as a result of the hurricane.
Greens legislation includes several provisions to help low-income Katrina survivors gain access to affordable housing:
Project-Based Housing Vouchers Greens bill would authorize $200 million for project-based Section 8 housing vouchers to help make a percentage of the Gulf Coasts new and rebuilt housing affordable to low income individuals and families. The legislation also provides for a certain amount of vouchers to be set aside for special needs individuals and families, including persons with disabilities, persons who were homeless before the hurricanes, and elderly families.
More Flexible Disaster Assistance Greens legislation would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to allow FEMA the flexibility to provide more secure and reliable housing, including Katrina cottages as an alternative to FEMA trailers, both to survivors of the 2005 hurricanes and survivors of future disasters.
Housing Assistance Reorganization Greens bill would transfer funding for remaining temporary rental assistance programs from FEMAs Disaster Relief Fund to the Department of Housing and Urban Developments (HUD) Disaster Voucher Program. By transferring these funds to HUD, the government will be able to provide displaced families still receiving housing assistance with better options to meet their long-term housing needs.