Texas Petitions IRS to Use Income Eligible Housing for Disaster Victims
In a letter to Pres. Bush, Gov. Rick Perry today asked the federal government for federal emergency assistance as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Perry also issued an emergency disaster declaration for the state of Texas to free up resources to deal with the existing challenge of providing services to tens of thousands of storm victims who fled Louisiana.
"Hurricane Katrina, a disaster for our neighboring states, has created emergency conditions in Texas that will require all available resources of both federal and state governments to overcome," Perry said. "We will do all we can as a state and a people to help our neighbors to the East who have lost so much."
Perry has asked the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to identify all vacant income eligible housing units for use by refugees. TDHCA has sent a letter to the IRS requesting a waiver for the use of Housing Tax Credit units for transient use by the Hurricane Katrina disaster victims. So far 7,000 units have been identified east of I35.
Perry has asked that, once available units are identified, FEMA to distribute vouchers to victims requiring housing. Information on voucher distribution will be disseminated through the media and through briefings on site at the Astrodome. Written notification from the federal government is pending at this time. The state of Texas is also partnering with the Texas Apartment Owners Association to identify vacant units which will also be handled through the FEMA voucher process.