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Displaced Military Families Can Seek Safe Haven Within United States

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2005 – Military family members ordered to evacuate military installations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama due to Hurricane Katrina are now authorized to select an alternate safe haven anywhere in the continental United States, defense officials confirmed today.

David S. C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, announced the new policy in a memo sent to the service secretaries Sept. 1.

The authority applies to family members whose housing was declared uninhabitable following the hurricane, Chu wrote.

Families affected by the policy qualify for up to two months of advance pay, and military family members will receive safe haven allowances for up to 180 days after arriving at their alternate safe haven location, Chu wrote.

Allowances will be paid in accordance with the Joint Forces Travel Regulation, with calculations generally following rules for temporary duty travel: the actual cost of lodging, plus a separate meal and incidental allowance, explained Air Force Lt. Col. Al Bruner, from Chu's office.

Family members age 12 and over will receive travel pay and 100 percent of the per diem for their safe haven location for the first 30 days, Bruner said. DoD will pay full travel costs and 50 percent of the per diem rate for family members under age 12.

For more information, servicemembers should contact the Defense Finance and Accounting Service's 24-hour, toll-free hotline at (800) 756-4571 and request option 6.

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