The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said that they would waive the tax-credit regulations that prohibit owners of low-income housing providing housing to victims of Hurricane Katrina who don't qualify as "low income."

The agencies said that the measure would expand the availability of housing for disaster victims and their families. The waiver applies to any area in the United States, not just the affected regions.

"The widespread damage caused by the hurricane left many thousands of Americans homeless," said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow in a statement.  "We hope that providing this disaster relief will allow states to temporarily house many of the needy whose homes were destroyed."

Separately, the IRS also said that it will provide an expedited review and approval process for new organizations seeking tax-exempt status in order to provide relief for victims of Katrina. However, the agency encourages people to use existing organizations currently working on immediate aid efforts, as they are frequently able to administer relief programs more efficiently than newly formed organizations, because they already have fundraising and distribution infrastructures in place.

New organizations should apply for tax-exempt status by filing IRS Form 1023 and writing at the top of the form, "Disaster Relief, Hurricane Katrina." The IRS will give such applications expedited attention to ensure they meet legal requirements.

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