Katrina's Angels

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Katrina evacuees' hotel stays extended

Date: 10/12/2005

Katrina evacuees' hotel stays extended
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. relief officials have announced an open-ended extension of the Oct. 15 deadline for Hurricane Katrina evacuees to stay in hotels around the country.

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The Red Cross said 438,030 people were living in 141,300 rooms, a number that has nearly doubled in the past two weeks, as evacuees leave shelters for hotels.

While the Red Cross arranges for the rooms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is spending $8.3 million a day for the accommodations, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Rooms in all 48 contiguous states in the program average $59 a night. About 70 percent of the rooms are in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi and Georgia.

Efforts to house hurricane evacuees in trailer homes, on cruise ships or in market-rate apartments have largely failed, the report said.

The hotel program was conceived in the days immediately after Katrina struck the New Orleans area on Aug. 29.