Even though the news cycle has moved on, the realities of Hurricane Sandy and its lingering effects are still very present in the lives of many living in the northeast.
The storm has made what should be a pleasant time spent with family very difficult as the year closes. Businesses across the country have stepped up to lend a helping hand and some government agencies have gotten involved as well.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is the latest to lend a helping hand. HUD is reaching out to families affected by the storm and offering affordable housing alternatives for those displaced.
The agency has given the OK to public housing agencies to have more flexibility in calculating rent payments in FEMA declared disaster areas.
This is welcome news for low-income families having a hard time finding alternative housing in the aftermath of the storm. Local public housing agencies can increase a payment standard up to 120 percent of the published “fair market,” which will give low-income families more options in this tight rental market.
“We understand that in the wake of a disaster like Sandy, available rental housing becomes increasingly difficult to find, especially for lower income families,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who President Obama recently appointed to oversee long-term disaster redevelopment in the disaster region in a statement. “Simply by giving local housing authorities greater flexibility in calculating rental assistance to these families can make all the difference in finding a suitable home or not. This is just one more example of how the Obama Administration is cutting red tape to make our programs work better following a disaster.”
Families would still have to pay their required portion of the rent, typically 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income. Because of the increase in the maximum subsidy available, the measure would allow displaced families to afford housing they would not normally be able to under the regular payment standard.