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Disaster Unemployment Assistance Extended For Additional
Release Date: March 14, 2006
Release Number: 1603-397
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana residents and displaced evacuees who are unemployed because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been granted an additional 13 weeks to receive disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).
On March 6, President Bush signed Bill 1777, which extends the benefit period for nearly 400,000 individuals nationwide to continue to receive DUA payments.
Benefits for individuals who were affected by Hurricane Katrina are extended to June 4th and Hurricane Rita affected individuals until June 24th.
The DUA program extends income compensation to people who would normally be ineligible for unemployment compensation such as farmers and self-employed individuals who are out of work as a result of a disaster.
To date, $129.2 million have been approved for Hurricane Katrina applicants and $3.1 million has been approved for those left without income due to Hurricane Rita.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003
Last Updated: Tuesday, 14-Mar-2006 08:58:43
Katrina and Rita Application Registration Deadline
Extended To April 10
Release Date: March 10, 2006
Release Number: 1603-394
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To ensure all victims are able to register for assistance, David Paulison, Acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), today announced that the deadline for registering for assistance as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas has been extended 30 days to April 10, 2006.
Homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage from the hurricanes can apply by calling the FEMA registration number, 800-621-FEMA (3362); TTY 800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired, or online at www.fema.gov.
Applicants may qualify for help under a wide range of federal and state programs such as temporary disaster housing assistance; SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses; and assistance for disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
To date, FEMA has received more than 2.6 million applications for assistance from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita victims.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.
Last Updated: Monday, 13-Mar-2006 08:13:07
Video to Educate Hurricane Survivors on Insurance Issues is Now Available
Organization: Gilbert Heintz & Randolph LLP
Submission Date: 02/28/2006
As a part of their Katrina-related pro bono efforts, Gilbert Heintz & Randolph LLP has produced a DVD to educate homeowners and small business owners about insurance coverage issues. The DVD contains an 18-minute video on homeowner insurance issues, as well as a 13-minute video on small business owner insurance issues. Gilbert Heintz & Randolph LLP is making copies of these DVDs available for free to nonprofit organizations and other groups working to help those impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
On February 17, 2006,
Katrina evacuees filed a class action suit in Federal District Court in New
Orleans to challenge FEMA's failure to provide accessible temporary housing for
people with disabilities. Housing provided by FEMA has often come in the form of
inaccessible trailers which lack wheelchair ramps, grab bars in the bathroom,
wheelchair maneuvering room, and generally cannot be used by persons with
disabilities. The case was related to the McWaters v. FEMA matter.
A hearing has been set for March 2 in Judge Duval's court. More information is in a press release <http://www.femaanswers.org/images/6/66/Brou_v_FEMA_press_-2pdf> and the complaint <http://www.femaanswers.org/images/5/5b/Brou_v_FEMA_complaint.pdf>, available at www.FEMAanswers.org<http://www.femaanswers.org/.
The Welfare Law Center, Advocacy Center (of Louisiana), Mississippi Center for Justice, and The Public Interest Law Project (California) filed Brou v. FEMA, a federal class action in the Eastern District of Louisiana challenging FEMA's failure to provide accessible trailers and/or other housing assistance to persons with disabilities who were rendered homeless by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Tens of thousands of persons in the Gulf region still are without permanent, or even adequate temporary, housing. One of the solutions FEMA has offered has been to provide mobile homes or trailers for temporary use.
Unfortunately, despite the wide-spread prevalence of persons with disabilities in the population of evacuees, FEMA has not provided people with disabilities with trailers that are physically accessible for them.
Some evacuees who have requested accessible trailers are still waiting for trailers; others have been given inaccessible trailers and told that they will be replaced with accessible trailers or modified to be accessible at a later date, which has not occurred; and others have been provided with trailers that FEMA claims are accessible or "ADA friendly" that have many inaccessible features. As a result, many people with disabilities cannot enter or exist their trailers, bathe, cook, use the toilet, get in and out of bed, and engage in other activities of daily living at all, or safely and independently. Some wheelchair users cannot even turn around in the trailers they have been provided because there is so little space.
The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief requiring FEMA to: provide the class with accessible trailers, create a system in which FEMA ascertains the needs of evacuees with disabilities who seek housing assistance and meets those needs, engage in monitoring, and seeks other relief.
For further information, contact Cary LaCheen at the Welfare Law Center, firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEMA MISSES CONGRESSIONAL DEADLINE TO ISSUE GUIDANCE ON CONTINUED HOUSING ASSISTANCE FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS
Author: Douglas Rice and Barbara Sard
Organization: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Document
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Race, Color or National
Origin: Hurricane-Related Issues
Author: Wan Kim
Organization: US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division Document
Type: Legal memo from the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, focusing particularly on LEP (limited English proficiency) issues
Bush Orders DHS to Create Center for Faith-Based Aid
By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 8, 2006; A20
President Bush ordered the Department of Homeland Security yesterday to create a center for faith-based and community initiatives within 45 days to eliminate regulatory, contracting and programmatic barriers to providing federal funds to religious groups to deliver social services, the White House announced last night.
Pressed both by churches that have not received privately raised Hurricane Katrina relief funds as promised and by the outpouring of help of religious groups to Gulf Coast storm victims, Bush also called on the department by September "to identify all existing barriers . . . that unlawfully discriminate against, or otherwise discourage or disadvantage the participation" of such groups in federal programs.
In signing an executive order, Bush asked the department to develop pilot programs, conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to the groups in concert with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
The departments of Justice, Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services have similar centers.
Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said the move complements a recent White House "lessons learned" report about integrating such groups in disaster response and "also notes the extraordinary support by the faith-based community" after Katrina.
Federal funding is controversial among such groups. Some organizations, such as Catholic Charities, accept such funds, while others, such as the Rev. Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing, have said in the past that they would not accept it.
Along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Mississippi, religious groups have provided extraordinary help, local officials say, but also contributed to waste and duplication of effort when they failed to coordinate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local and county governments.
Congress has appropriated $67.9 billion for emergency supplemental hurricane relief, among other assistance, a portion of which is reserved for FEMA. Generally, the agency is restricted by law from engaging with religious organizations for disaster operations.
FEMA has announced, however, that it will reimburse religious organizations for feeding and sheltering storm victims. It has also contracted with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, an arm of the United Methodist Church, for $60 million to provide case management for the neediest storm victims.
Last week, a coalition of clergy members enlisted to help distribute $20 million raised by the relief fund set up by Bush's father, former president George H.W. Bush, and former president Bill Clinton, complained that churches had seen none of the money yet.
Staff writers Jacqueline L. Salmon in Washington and Michael A. Fletcher in Crawford, Tex., contributed to this report.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company