New Orleans In an acknowledgment that the hurricane-shattered Gulf Coast is in a housing crisis and strained by a slow recovery, the Bush administration said Thursday that it intends to house storm survivors into 2009.
About 33,000 households still rely on federal housing subsidies in cities including Houston and Atlanta. In addition, about 87,000 households in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama are in travel trailers and mobile homes.
Federal housing aid for evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita had been scheduled to end Aug. 31. The extension to March 2009 will enable many struggling residents to afford the rising costs of rent and utilities; on the flip side, it may entice the displaced to delay returning to the bruised Gulf Coast.
Katrina hit Aug. 29, 2005, devastating a large swath of the Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana coasts and flooding 80 percent of New Orleans. Rita hit southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas almost a month later.