Plaintiff Keiva Melissa Colomb was a resident of Orleans Parish when Hurricane Katrina struck. Her apartment was completely destroyed and she was evacuated to Texas, exhausting her savings getting there. On August 30, 2005, she called FEMA’s 800 number throughout the day to apply for benefits, but was unable to get through. Finally, at 2 am, Ms. Colomb reached a FEMA worker and was able to register. In San Antonio, prior to receiving FEMA housing assistance, Ms. Colomb found an apartment she could afford with the help of a roommate, another victim of Hurricane Katrina. Three weeks after Ms. Colomb called FEMA, $2,358 appeared in her bank account. However, she received no information regarding how the money was to be used, and when she tried to call FEMA, Ms. Colomb was unable to get through. Having lost most, if not all, of her possessions in the storm, she used the $2,358 for rent and to replace the bare necessities that she had lost: a toothbrush, towels, sheets, pots, food, a mattress and other essentials. Through word of mouth she heard that she could get assistance from FEMA for up to a year and was counting on it to make ends meet and to stay in her apartment. Yet, weeks later, when Ms. Colomb was finally able to talk to a FEMA representative, she was told for the first time that the money she previously received was solely for rental assistance, and that the only way she could get additional assistance was to prove through receipts that she spent all of the money on rent.
(From Part III of the Complaint.)