HUD Extends Disaster Voucher Program
On Feb. 11, 2009, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that the Department will extend the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), which had been set to expire on Feb. 28, 2009. HUD and FEMA will provide additional assistance as needed until Aug. 31, 2009, to people displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in order to give them more time to transition out of the DHAP program.
Donovan toured the Gulf Coast with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in early March.
About 31,000 families are now enrolled in DHAP. All families now receiving assistance are eligible for the new transition assistance program for up to six months.
Secretary Donovan also announced he will expand the range of recipients who can transfer from DHAP to the Housing Choice Voucher Program when DHAP does expire. Transfer was previously limited to elderly, disabled, and extremely low-income families. Donovan removed that restriction so that now all very low-income families receiving DHAP are eligible to continue in the standard voucher program.
HUD estimates about 13,500 DHAP households will be eligible for the vouchers. Because voucher program rules make the assistance portable, a voucher recipient is not obliged to use the assistance only in the jurisdiction that issued the voucher. After an initial lease-up period, the family can move with it and use the voucher anywhere in the United States where there is a voucher program operating.
Editor's Note: Public housing authorities, not HUD itself, administer both DHAP and the standard Housing Choice Voucher Program. See “FAQs About Leasing in the Housing Choice Voucher Program,” in the March 2009 Insider, p. 8. For guidance on accepting voucher holders in multifamily developments assisted in other programs, see Handbook 4350.3, Section 3-21.