More than half of 5,000 Galveston County families displaced by Hurricane Ike and given federal vouchers to rent homes or apartments are still living in hotels or with relatives, officials have said. The reason: many apartment managers and owners in a tight housing market prefer not to go to the extra effort to handle housing vouchers.
We urge Governor Perry to use his authority to issue a temporary directive ordering landlords to accept the housing vouchers. Texas hurricane survivors need to get out of hotels and into more stable (and less expensive) housing. State law that provides the Governor exceptional power in the wake of emergencies should afford the Governor the authority he needs to address this crisis. If not, the Texas Legislature could pass emergency legislation in the first days of the upcoming session of the legislature.
It is not enough for state officals to complain about FEMA’s slow pace in providing trailers. The power to address the current housing crisis is in the Governor’s hands and he must act expeditiously.