Most evacuees register to extend hotel stay, FEMA says

DALLAS (AP) - FEMA says many Hurricane Katrina evacuees facing eviction from their hotel rooms next week have either found new housing or never qualified for FEMA-paid hotel rooms in the first place.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday will stop paying for about a quarter of the 26 thousand hotel rooms still occupied by evacuees nationwide.

Evacuees had until Monday to apply for an authorization code that keeps FEMA paying for their rooms until at least February 13th.

Acting FEMA director David Paulison says the agency called hundreds who never registered, and all reached said they found other housing.

Special circumstances, such as waiting to receive word about applications for other aid, such as rent assistance or trailers, or those appealing FEMA's decision, could extend their stay as long as March 1.

FEMA has spent more than 525 (m) million dollars in hotel rooms for evacuees.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)