The government has managed to get many New Yorkers back into their homes and apartments following Superstorm Sandy, but many are still struggling when it comes to finding long-term housing they can afford. As a result, FEMA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are tapping a program that directly pays landlords rent on behalf of eligible families who would otherwise go homeless. The Disaster Housing Assistance Program was created following Hurricane Katrina—though it was not actually launched until two years after the 2005 storm—to help more than 37,000 families who were still struggling to meet their housing needs. The program was also deployed following Hurricane Gustav in 2008. The goal is to get families out of temporary housing situations, such as hotels and short-term rentals, and into a more permanent rental arrangement that is supplemented by the government. The implementation of the program underscored the continued challenges facing New Yorkers after the storm. "In the aftermath of Sandy, New York presents a unique housing challenge," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Bryne, in a statement. "It's a densely populated, urban environment and available rental resources are scarce. The purpose of this program is to assist those who have not been able to reach their permanent housing solution within FEMA's standard forms of assistance." At a Senate hearing on March 1, Brad Gair, director of the city's Office of Housing Recovery Operations, testified about shortcomings in the program. "Temporary housing solutions provided by FEMA and HUD—including direct housing, direct leasing, and the Disaster Housing Assistance Program—need to come on-line more quickly, have better defined activation thresholds, and have programmatic parameters and details already in place," Mr. Gair said.