FEMA Cuts Off Hotel Room Payments to More Hurricane Evacuees

FEBRUARY 14, 2006 - Posted at 8:29 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Another group of hurricane evacuees in Arkansas has had their federal payments cut off, marking the second group of cutoffs this month.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency will stop paying hotel bills for evacuees in most cases.  But FEMA spokesman John McDermott said the agency will continue to provide long-term rental assistance for those who qualify.

The number of hurricane evacuees in Arkansas hotels has dwindled since Hurricane Katrina hit August 29.  FEMA has tried to move evacuees out of hotels and into permanent housing.  Late last month, the agency estimated there were 442 evacuee families in Arkansas hotels.  They had a January 30 deadline to register with FEMA before payments stopped February 7.  That was last Tuesday.

McDermott said those who registered had payments extended until yesterday and a few received extensions until the end of the month.  He said that, as of Saturday, there were 168 evacuee families registered in Arkansas hotel rooms.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)