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DATE: 9/8/2005

The City of Houston and Harris County Organize The Katrina Housing Task Force to Locate Permanent Housing for Surviving Families Living In Shelters

To: Houston Regional Media Outlets


September 7, 2005

The City of Houston and Harris County Organize The Katrina Housing Task Force to Locate Permanent Housing for Surviving Families Living In Shelters

HOUSTON, Texas - The City of Houston and Harris County, in cooperation with the Houston Apartment Association, announced today the establishment of a joint housing task force to place survivors of Hurricane Katrina from temporary living shelters into permanent housing. The program is scheduled to be operational by Thursday, September 8, 2005, and will begin immediately to move families.

It is a partnership among the Harris County Housing Authority, the Housing Authority of the City of Houston, the Houston Apartment Association, the Housing Authority of New Orleans, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The purpose of the program is to match surviving families to their necessary housing needs from transitional to permanent housing. The program goals are identified as:

. To transition approx. 20,000 families into dignified more permanent housing;

. To provide basic services: electricity, gas and telephone;

. To provide basic necessities: kitchenware, groceries, bedding, etc;

. To provide transportation to housing facility;

. Use of Section 8 vouchers, FEMA vouchers, City of Houston vouchers or any other form of public or private housing assistance for financial compensation.

An agreement between the City of Houston and the Property Managers/Landlords for financial compensation is to be set up by:

1) A Letter of Intent;

2) Rental Agreement;

3) Voucher Program; and the

4) Fair market rate of apartments: One Bedroom: $601, $541; Two Bedroom: $733, $660; and Three Bedroom: $ 980, $885.

The process of identifying and interviewing families done on location at the shelters will be conducted by employees of the Housing Authority of the City of Houston (HACH) at the following locations:

. Reliant Center;

. Reliant Arena;

. Astrodome;

. George R. Brown Convention Center; and

. A mobile registration unit for various shelters

A web-based data system will be used to register families and match the surviving families to their necessary housing needs. The Housing Authority of New Orleans reports 6,400 Public Housing families and 9,600 Section 8 families were in their program before the disaster.

Multiple choices for living arrangements are being made available for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Sensitive attention is being given to the families' unique and special needs such as maintaining the family unit, health issues, the elderly and any other special need.

The registration process to identify all available housing is accessible online and in person. The mailing address for the Katrina Housing Task Force is:

P. O. Box 61189, Houston, Texas 77208-1189, ATTN: Katrina Housing Task Force.

The web address to register available housing is www.katrina.houstontx.gov. For more information please email cohkatrinahousing@cityofhouston.net The phone is (713) 437-6800 and the Fax is (713) 437-6946.

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