A month after the historic flooding in Louisiana, many residents are still having trouble finding housing, reports WAFB’s Scottie Hunter.
According to Hunter’s report, thousands of people have applied for a manufactured housing unit from FEMA, but as of September 30, only 169 people have been able to move into one.
The number of homes has increased from where the total was a week ago, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. FEMA spokesman Tito Hernandez said the inspection process is the main reason for the delay.
“We’re inspecting hundreds of sites for sustainability,” Hernandez told WAFB. “We have to
deliver the units, but we have to inspect those units before we take them out of the staging area when we put them in the site whether it’s a commercial or private site.”
Unfortunately, FEMA says taht even when the homes can be inspected, the actual inspecting takes time, too—in some case it can take days or even weeks for inspectors to locate suitable spots for the units.
Meanwhile, the Shelter at Home Program, which allows residents whose homes were damaged to still live at their house while they rebuild, is moving along rapidly. As of Sept. 29, close to 20,000 homes were registered and more than 16,000 of those homes are inspection-eligible and approximately 5,000 are good to go for construction.
“Inspections are being scheduled and occurring,” Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (GOHSEP) spokesman Casey Tingle said. “Construction is being started and being worked and we continue to look at how we expedite and improve the process to get all of that construction completed and final inspections done.”
The Shelter at Home Program has been able to reach close to 500 homes a day. However FEMA’s manufactured home process is still in need of improvement as it lags behind.
This is a surprise to those who followed Jan Hollingsworth’s recent report for MHLivingNews, when FEMA said they had learned from their past mistakes during Hurricane Katrina.
“FEMA’s got their plan and it’s moving and it looks like there’s some thought to it,” Steve Duke, Louisiana Manufactured Housing Association executive director and general counsel then told MHLivingNews. “We just tell them, ‘If there’s anything we can do, let us know.’
Our number one goal and objective is to get people out of the shelters.”
“It was six weeks before FEMA could get 113 families out of shelters and into homes. I blew up that night at a FEMA meeting,” Duke said. “I could have gotten 113 families out of shelters in less than a week.”
Hollingsworth’s report noted how rapidly manufactured home professionals were ready to jump in to help with the demand. For example, Alabama-based Sunshine Homes was optimistic it could supply high-quality, move-in homes within a month.
Sunshine Homes CEO John Bostick said, “Our factory is running at about two-thirds capacity. We could stretch and build a lot of homes.”
As the Daily Business News recently reported, Lexington Homes was recently awarded a major contract from FEMA for more manufactured housing. To see that report, please click here.
“We’re not perfect,” FEMA’s Hernandez said. “We’re going to have some folks that are going to fall through the cracks. For that, we have an appeal process.” ##
(Image credit is as shown on the linked page.)
Submitted by Joe Dyton to the Daily Business News, MHProNews.