The House has passed a bill that will make it easier for persons displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita to find apartments that can accept federal rental vouchers.The bill (H.R. 3894) allows the Department of Housing and Urban Development to waive certain requirements so voucher holders can sign short-term leases to rent federally assisted Section 8 apartment units. "With this legislation, anyone who has been displaced by hurricane Katrina or Rita, and is low-income, can now be housed in these [Section 8] apartments, even if they were not receiving government assistance before the hurricanes," said Jim Arbury, who heads up government affairs for the National Multi Housing Council and National Apartment Association. By waiving inspection and government lease requirements, the Hurricane Katrina Emergency Housing Act, sponsored by Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., also allows voucher holders to lease certain market-rate apartments. The House passed the bill by a 418-0 vote. "We applaud the House for taking this much-needed step, and we urge the Senate to pass similar legislation," Mr. Arbury said.

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