Judge: FEMA Must Resume Katrina Housing Payments

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge today told the Bush administration to resume making housing benefits available to thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The storm hit the Gulf coast in August of 2005. Several hundred thousand evacuees ended up in Texas.

The temporary injunction was sought by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to adequately explain why it ended the housing assistance program.

ACORN filed suit in August saying FEMA violated the rights of Katrina victims by abruptly stopping housing payments.

The judge ordered the federal agency to explain its reasoning and allow the displaced hurricane victims to appeal.

While that process goes forward, FEMA must resume payments -- and pay storm victims for the time since the decision to stop the program.