LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The first mobile homes will be delivered to eligible Arkansas residents affected by the Feb. 5 tornadoes beginning Saturday, April 5. The units will be transported from the Hope staging area to commercial and private sites throughout the state.?
Priority is given to residents with destroyed homes who are currently living in crowded conditions or in a damaged home, as well as those with serious medical conditions or special needs, according to officials with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Housing is FEMA's number one priority, and these mobile homes will offer a housing alternative where no other long-term solutions are available for residents," said Federal Coordinating Officer Ken Riley. "FEMA is closely monitoring housing needs in affected areas and we will make these temporary housing units available as needed."
FEMA began testing unoccupied mobile home units for formaldehyde at the Hope Staging Site in early March. FEMA will continue to test the indoor air quality of all manufactured housing units under consideration for use by disaster victims for formaldehyde emission levels. This is the latest in a range of proactive measures FEMA is taking in response to recent formaldehyde findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It is important to us to house these families as close to home as possible," said State Coordinating Officer, Richard Griffin of ADEM. "ADEM in coordination with the Arkansas Department of Health and the Governor's office evaluated the test results and accepted units based on the low levels of formaldehyde."
Additional information is listed below on the process of mobile home use and placement.
Mobile Homes Are a Temporary Solution
FEMA mobile homes should not be considered long-term housing.? They are intended to meet an emergency need that ends when the disaster victim's permanent home is repaired or alternate permanent housing is found.
Before placing an applicant in a mobile home, all reasonable means of providing temporary housing are explored, including emergency repairs to restore a homeowner's dwelling to habitability; renting a home or apartment on the local market; and renting a mobile home privately. Mobile homes may be an interim lodging solution in the absence of these other resources.
Mobile Home Eligibility and Installation
Arkansas households affected by tornadoes must register with FEMA and have sufficient damage to their primary residence or rental unit in order to qualify for a FEMA mobile home. Families who qualify for a mobile home will be notified of their eligibility. If approved, a FEMA contractor will move the mobile home to an approved site and connect all utilities.? Local codes and ordinances may require a local inspection of electrical, sewer and propane connections before FEMA is permitted to issue keys to occupants.?
Occupants are responsible for utilities, such as electricity, telephone and cable TV. Occupants are assigned units on a month-to-month basis for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration while they repair their homes or search for permanent housing. To remain eligible, they must develop a housing plan, which is reviewed monthly by a FEMA case worker.
The first step to receiving temporary housing assistance is to register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments. Those applicants who may qualify for a FEMA mobile home will be contacted for a pre-placement interview.
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