ORLANDO, Fla. -- They came in one by one attached to a pick-up truck with the word Cavalier adorning the white front of each travel trailer unit in tow. They were the first emergency housing units to arrive after the February 2 tornadoes.
Already several Lady Lake residents have received a U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) emergency temporary travel trailer. FEMA travel trailers are one of several resources the agency has available to help meet emergency housing needs after the tornadoes.
FEMA and the state worked together in a streamlined process to issue damage inspections, identify eligible applicants, and assess potential sites for possible travel trailer placement. Issues such as functioning wells, power and sewer all contribute to whether or not a site is eligible for a travel trailer.
Several factors are taken into consideration before a travel trailer is issued. Variables include overall need, location, general lot sizes in the area, state and local building codes and ordinances. Recovery officials emphasize all occupants pay for utilities, such as electricity, phone service, cable TV and pad rental where applicable.
Each travel trailer has one bedroom with a queen bed. Two bunk beads, a couch, a small kitchen area and bathroom fill the remaining living space.
Knowing these limitations, FEMA works with all applicants living in travel trailers on finding a permanent housing solution. "It's only 13 steps from the front bedroom to the bathroom in the back. Two small drawers and three cabinets make up the storage area for the kitchen. It's just not intended for long-term housing," said Federal Coordinating Officer, Jesse Munoz.
"We continue to assist residents of Florida with post disaster needs. We requested emergency temporary housing and through the cooperation of local, state and federal officials, residents of Lake County are seeing the arrival of travel trailers," said Disaster Housing Chief Roy Dunn, state of Florida's Emergency Response Team.
The first step in receiving federal assistance starts with a phone call to 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY at 1-800-462-7585 or going online to www.FEMA.gov.
FAQ: How do I know if I qualify for Housing Assistance?
FEMA provides eligible homeowners grants to pay for emergency repairs. Typical emergencies are repairs of roofs, windows, walls and floors. These measures can restore a home to safe, sanitary and secure habitability. Rental assistance is available for three months to eligible homeowners and one month for eligible renters. On a case-by-case basis, additional rental assistance may be available.
Once registered, you must meet eligibility standards that include:
Your loss occurred in an area that has been declared a disaster by the president.
Your property damage/loss is not covered by your insurance or your insurance settlement is insufficient to meet your losses.
You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
You are not able to live in your home now, you cannot get to your home due to the disaster, or your home requires repairs because of damage from the disaster.
You have exhausted available rental resources.
FAQ: Is disaster help still available if I have insurance?
Possibly. If you have not already contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, it's important to do so as soon as possible. After filing, if any of the following situations occur, FEMA may be able to provide some assistance:
Your insurance settlement is d...