FEMA agrees to extend program

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — Following congressional directive authored by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved Mississippi’s application to extend its program to help the few thousand Mississippians who remain displaced by Hurricane Katrina to find new homes.

FEMA has approved an eight-month extension, through March 31, 2010, for the Mississippi Disaster Case Management Pilot Program and up to $5.6 million to work through the remaining open cases for families still in need. Although the FEMA temporary housing program officially ended May 1, FEMA based the award on the 1,780 households remaining in FEMA housing as of early July.

The extension is a direct result of an amendment added to the FY2009 Supplemental Appropriations Bill in June by Cochran, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee and serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds FEMA.

The program, administered by the Mississippi Case Management Consortium (MCMC), would have terminated in May despite significant success. As of August 2008, about 10,000 Mississippi households remained in FEMA-provided housing. But the case management program helped reduce this figure to approximately 2,000 by early 2009.

MCMC has assisted eligible families, including those with health concerns, living in FEMA-provided temporary housing. The program began with a $25.4 million FEMA grant.

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