So says Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Amid new allegations that federal hurricane disaster aid is being bungled, Gov. Rick Perry warned Tuesday that as many as 65,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees could face eviction in Texas before Christmas because federal officials have not paid the rent.
Perry also complained in a tersely worded letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that: “Our victims of (Hurricane) Rita are being treated differently from the Louisiana victims of Rita. Natural disasters recognize no state boundaries, and neither should FEMA.”
At a Dallas news conference, officials with the Texas Apartment Association said some landlords have not seen the [FEMA] money. A recent survey by the association showed that of the estimated 175,000 evacuees living in Texas apartments, rent for 28 percent has not been paid.
About 15,000 face eviction in November, and an additional 50,000 will lose their housing in December if their rent is not paid, the officials said.
“We see a train wreck coming,” association President Brad Williams said. “We don’t want to be evicting a bunch of people here at Christmas time.”
FEMA officials say the problem is the evacuees.
“It’s their responsibility to use (the money) as it’s intended for,” FEMA spokesman Mike Sweet said, adding that refugees are eligible for more money if the original check paid for other necessities, such as food and clothing. “They need to provide us with receipts as well as a long-term housing plan” to secure more money for rent, he said.