Louisiana has been approved for a federal program that allows Hurricane Ida survivors to stay in a hotel for up to 30 days, officials said Friday.

The program is run by FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency — and is called transitional sheltering assistance.

It is separate from state- and parish-operated shelters, which house 3,427 people in 28 sites, according to Catherine Heitman, communications director for the Department of Children and Family Services.

Those interested in a hotel have to register for assistance — www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Applicants have to show residence in one of the declared disaster areas, be able to verify occupancy and be displaced and unable to live in the home they occupied before the storm arrived Sunday.

Hurricane survivors cannot request a hotel.

However, FEMA will identify those survivors who qualify and let them know by telephone, text message or email.

Those who meet the rules have to find and book their own rooms.

Hotels taking part in the program are listed on DisasterAssistance.gov under the link Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program or by calling the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362.

FEMA officials also said those who qualify for a hotel may have to travel a significant distance to find a room.

Hotels have been approved for Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

FEMA only pays for the room and any taxes.

Survivors are responsible for meals, transportation and other costs.

The current plan covers 30 days — Sept. 2-Oct. 2.

Hotels costs are not retroactive before Sept. 2 but hurricane survivors can submit their receipts to FEMA for possible reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

Those who qualify also have to sign a document when they check in and pledge to follow guidelines for the program.

Those seeking a local shelter can call 211 or get information by texting 898-211 and typing lashelter.

The hotel option applies to residents of all 25 parishes declared federal disaster areas.

The two state shelters are the Raising Cane's River Center, 275 S. River Road in Baton Rouge and the Rapides Coliseum, 5600 Coliseum Road in Alexandria.

Local shelter space is always changing.

"It is very fluid," Heitman said.

"They are opening and closing constantly just depending on the need, depending on their resources," she said.

Check back with The Advocate for more details.


Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.