FEMA may cover hotel costs for hurricane evacuees

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The federal government says it'll pay the hotel expenses of some of the nearly two million people who fled their homes ahead of Hurricane Gustav. It's not clear exactly who'll be eligible for assistance and how much it'll cost taxpayers.

With two other hurricanes possibly threatening the East Coast, the decision to pay for hotels could make it easier to evacuate residents during the next disaster. But doing so would also burden the agency with huge expenses.

The news that hotel costs might be reimbursed came too late for people who've been sleeping at public shelters like the convention center in Birmingham, Alabama.

One displaced New Orleans man says there's no laundry and he's "tired of smelling tennis shoes and diapers."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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