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Appeals court suspends order for FEMA to continue Katrina housing payments

[JURIST] A federal appeals court Friday suspended a November order [PDF text] by US District Judge Richard Leon requiring the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) [official website] to reinstate certain housing payments [JURIST report] to Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] victims. The US DC Circuit Court of Appeals suspended the order in response to FEMA's request to allow the agency to delay action on the shelter program [JURIST report] at least until March when the appeals court will hear arguments in the case.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) [advocacy website] filed the lawsuit on behalf of displaced hurricane evacuees alleging violations of their due process rights. Leon granted the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction against the payments stoppage, maintaining that FEMA had failed to provide evacuees with adequate explanations for their denials of housing assistance and their means of appeal under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act [text]. Leon's order also required FEMA to explain to evacuees in plain English why they are no longer eligible for funding. AP has more.

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