Attorneys file class-action lawsuit in Houston to derail FEMA from cutting tens of thousands of low-income hurricane evacuees off from federal rent and utility assistance
"FEMA's arbitrary and inequitable decision to eliminate Section 403 housing payments at the end of this month with no adequate notice, with no clear standards for determining eligibility or for making an appeal, and with no timely transition to its temporary housing assistance program (Section 408) is a complete failure of FEMA's statutory obligation to assist our hurricane evacuees," said Michael Caddell in the press release. The complaint jointly filed by attorneys with Caddell & Chapman, public interest law center Texas Appleseed, the Public Interest Law Project in Oakland, Calif., and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice Inc. in New York asks the court to stop FEMA from cutting off assistance until "federally mandated requirements for the program's administration are met and a hearing is held," according to the release.
Watson v. FEMA is the third housing aid-related suit brought against FEMA in the wake of Katrina and Rita. "In McWaters v. FEMA, FEMA was ordered to extend hotel stays for tens of thousands of evacuees who were about to be evicted with no other housing options. In Brau v. FEMA, the class action complainants have sought benefits useable by people with disabilities," explains a National Low Income Housing Coalition press release. For more on FEMA-related legal issues, see www.femaanswers.org.