FEMA to stop paying for hurricane evacuees' hotel rooms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

FEMA to stop paying for hurricane evacuees' hotel rooms

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November 16, 2005

Albany--It's time for Hurricane Katrina evacuees still living in hotels to go. FEMA says it will stop paying for their hotel stays at the end of the month.

One evacuee says the notice couldn't come at a worse time.

"Thanksgiving is coming up, then Christmas, then New Year's. These are the holidays coming up," says Tarek Posey.

Posey got quite a surprise when he opened his mail and found a letter from FEMA.

"Unless they place me somewhere basically as of November 30th, I will be homeless," says Posey.

The letter says evacuees must start paying their hotel bills starting December 1st.

"If I had sufficient funds that I thought I had coming to me that I understood that I was supposed to be getting, then maybe I wouldn't be having this problem and talking to you guys now because I would have an apartment or something on my own," says Posey.

Posey has struggled to get his life back on track since Katrina chased him from New Orleans. "I was working, but it's not permanent. There's no permanent work that I've found so far. I don't have any money to go further," says Posey.

Albany's community service manager, Julie Duke, says the city is doing its best to place evacuees living in hotels into more permanent housing.

"We've been preparing for the FEMA interim housing program to begin and as soon as we have the contract from GEMA then we would begin housing them," says Julie Duke.

The city hopes to place at least twenty-five families in rental homes and in former military housing at Boyette Village.

"They were in the last two weeks trying to get at least a couple of units up to speed in preparation to be able to start placement," says Duke. That placement could start as soon as next week.

"Evacuees will be given an opportunity to choose where they want to stay and as long as it's a participating rental property," says Duke.

"I just want to be able to live and be able to live comfortably without worried being kicked out," says Tarek Posey.

Posey hopes the city is able to follow through with its promise to help evacuees like him, for now he's taking one day at a time.

"I'm trying to take it in stride, and pray that I have faith in God that something will happen for me," says Posey.

Evacuees who need housing for the next three to twelve months should call the city's housing services for help. That number is (229) 430-7998.

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