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U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters Applauds Judge’s Decision to Restore Hurricane Victims Housing Assistance in the Gulf Region

July 27, 2009
Press Release

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (CA-35), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services' Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, today hailed the decision by Judge Richard J. Leon of the Federal Court for the District of Columbia to restore housing assistance and pay back rent to thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who were victims of the hurricanes. The Judge found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had also denied the basic due process rights of thousands who were denied long-term housing benefits and utility assistance.

 "This is vindication for the beleaguered victims of the hurricanes in the Gulf Region," Rep. Waters said.  "Not only were the evacuees victims of the storms, they became victims of the very federal agency that was supposed to be there to help them. The tragedy of the situation is that many of the evacuees are still without permanent housing."

Rep. Waters added, "Management of one of the nation's worst disasters in a century was made even more intolerable for its victims because of FEMA's actions.  For FEMA to have denied families long-term assistance with their rent and utility bills without a hearing was constitutionally unacceptable and reprehensible."

The Congresswoman expressed concern that the Judge's order be implemented by FEMA immediately stating, "The victims of FEMA's unconstitutional actions have suffered enough and any further delay in restoring fairness in providing assistance to the victims of the hurricanes is intolerable.  FEMA must not continue to waste taxpayer monies by failing to comply with the Judge's order."