RAPID CITY, S.C. -- The first delivery of fully winterized mobile homes, supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), arrived in Pine Ridge July 1. The mobile homes will be used by people having long term, temporary housing needs.
The mobile homes will be temporarily stored at a staging area located at the Rural Water Department building until permanent locations are finalized
"These homes will be made available to people whose houses were either destroyed or so severely damaged that they will not be able to get back into their homes before winter," noted Pete Bakersky, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. Bakersky also pointed out that families are currently being housed in travel trailers, which are being used for temporary short-term housing.
The mobile homes will be ready for occupancy within about one week and are scheduled to be placed on existing private home sites. The homes are 70 feet long by 12 feet wide and are three-bedroom units. The furnished units include a kitchen with appliances. The homes will be provided rent-free, unless additional living expenses are available through insurance coverage, but occupants are required to pay for the utilities.
"Our top priority is making sure there is adequate short and long-term housing for Pine Ridge tornado victims," Bakersky noted, "and bringing in travel trailers and mobile homes for those in need is one of our most critical objectives."
In order to apply for any disaster assistance, those affected by the deadly storms and tornadoes must first apply by calling FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029 or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the speech- and hearing- impaired. Trained operators will guide the caller through the application process.
Types of disaster housing assistance available to South Dakota disaster victims are: grants for emergency repairs to make the home livable, rental assistance for persons whose homes are uninhabitable and who have a resource available, and mobile homes for persons whose homes suffered major damage, but have no rental resources. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also are available to eligible applicants to repair or rebuild a primary residence to its pre-disaster condition.
As of June 30, a total of 897 individuals have applied for disaster assistance with FEMA. Additional support is also available at the Pine Ridge Disaster Recovery Center located on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A variety of federal, state, tribal and volunteer agency representatives are available at the center to answer questions about disaster programs.