Source Pravda.Ru

Katrina evacuees left on crossroad

Two months after Hurricane Katrina displaced more than 1 million people, problems with federal housing aid threaten to spawn a new wave of homelessness.

In Texas, thousands of evacuees who found shelter in apartments face eviction threats because rents are going unpaid.

In Louisiana, some evacuees are beginning to show up in homeless shelters because they haven't received federal aid or don't know how to get it.

Advocates for the poor say the situation will worsen this winter. "They are the poorest folks," says Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "It's going to show up at homeless shelters this winter."

The housing crunch could get tighter in November because the Federal Emergency Management Agency wants to move an estimated 200,000 Katrina evacuees out of hotels as soon as possible.

That increases the need for apartments, trailers and mobile homes.

Pressure is building on FEMA to alter its policies. Two programs provide rent money directly to evacuees or reimburse local governments. But many evacuees have not received the cash or have used it for other needs. And some cities refuse to spend their own money up front.

Representatives of apartment owners who met with federal officials in Dallas on Thursday say that about 15,000 Katrina evacuees in Texas alone face eviction in November for unpaid rent or for other reasons.

Dallas used private funding to house about 2,000 families for two months, but soon the money will run out, The Tennessean reports.

V.Y.

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