FEMA Denials

From FEMA Answers

As of September 30, 2005, FEMA had received over 1.5 million registrations for housing assistance (see March 2005 report of OIG for DHS, page 101). The OIG report also indicates that when asked whether their pre-disaster home was damanged, many applicants answered "no" or "do not know" and were then found ineligible for assistance on that basis (OIG report, page 99).

Denial Data

FEMA has not released comprehensive data on how many households it has provided continuing rental assistance (under the Section 408 program), though in a press release FEMA stated that 770,000 households received "longer-term housing assistance". However, FEMA did provide data in the McWaters v. FEMA case, showing how it resolved some 65,000 pending applications of those formerly assisted through the hotel/motel program. In Exhibits filed by FEMA at the February 23-24, 2006 trial, the agency showed how it resolved the applications of the "pending" hotel residents, demonstrating that only about 20% were actually determined eligible for continuing assistance, as follows:

  • Exhibit 3 reflects at least 65,993 pending applications from hotel residents as of December 19, 2005; and Exhibit 7 reflects that by February 13 there were just 12,718 approvals or 19.3% of the formerly pending applications. (Note that Judge Duvall was concerned about FEMA's failure to determine eligibility before FEMA closed the Hotel program, so these statistics were produced to show that the eligibility decisions were done at all.)

Most all of the 65,000+ families staying in hotels were directly evacuated from Katrina affected areas. FEMA's failure to provide continuing assistance to 80% of these families has not been explained, other than the Exhbits provided here.

Recertification data

FEMA has released data regarding the number of evacuees receiving continuing assistance. As a base line, FEMA says there were 706,818 households receiving initial rental assistance, in most cases this was $2358 for three months assistance. The recertification data shows that only 31% (221,116/706,818) actually applied for recertification. In other words nearly 70% of those who requested rental assistance have only got funds for the first three months, when they could receive up to 18 months.

On August 30, 2006, FEMA claimed in a press release that throughout Texas, only 3,000 households have "been unable to prove to FEMA that they are eligible for FEMA's programs", and presumably will be cut off by the 8/31 deadline. The press release also states that at the time of writing, "about 107,000 households are in FEMA's individual assistance rental program," presumably nation-wide.