In late August Hurricane Harvey destroyed property across southeast Texas, and more than four months later, 10,000 affected families are still spread across 12,000 hotel rooms waiting for their lives to get back to normal.
In the next few days FEMA is expected to announce whether or not they’ll extend their hotel program, called Transitional Shelter Assistance, for the fourth time. If allowed to expire on January 16, thousands of Texans whose homes have been deemed unlivable will immediately have to seek or request new shelter — a daunting prospect that has many Harvey survivors feeling anxious and frustrated with FEMA’s lack of communication and last minute decision-making.
The challenge is FEMA is not insurance: it’s a federal aid designed to be temporary. The agency’s disaster assistance has taken on several forms that range from direct financial compensation to temporary mobile homes. In a region where 80% of victims did not have flood insurance, recovery is costly and FEMA can’t answer exactly who will get what help for how much longer.
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