Judge won't make FEMA continue paying for hotel rooms

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A judge Monday turned aside a last-minute attempt to force the federal government to continue paying directly for hotel rooms of 12-thousand families made homeless by last year's hurricanes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has promised evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita they will still receive federal assistance they can use toward hotel stays or fixing their ruined homes, though FEMA will no longer pay for the hotels directly after Monday.

Attorneys for the evacuees tried unsuccessfully to get U-S District Judge Stanwood Duval to issue a temporary restraining order aimed at forcing FEMA to continue the direct hotel payments. The lawyers argued the forthcoming money from FEMA will not be enough for reasonable living accommodations or for continued hotel stays.

Bill Quigley, a lawyer for the evacuees, says most of the people have yet to receive trailers and checks for temporary aid.

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