New Orleans, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work with our state and local partners to come up with safe and suitable temporary housing options for disaster victims of hurricanes Ike and Gustav, specifically those in Cameron Parish.?
On Oct. 20, 2008, FEMA approved, in response to a request from the state of Louisiana, a Direct Housing Mission that will include mobile homes and park model units only to families who need continued temporary housing assistance after hurricanes Gustav and Ike in the five, State-identified priority parishes of Cameron, Calcasieu, Terrebonne, Lafourche and Jefferson.
In Cameron Parish to date, FEMA has provided the following assistance to families devastated by Hurricane Ike:
- $6,237,460 in grants to families.
- 749 households have been provided with rental assistance and could potentially participate in the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) beginning November 1, 2008.
- Currently, 81 families will be enrolled in the DHAP program beginning November 1 in Cameron Parish.?
- 80 households have received the maximum grant FEMA can offer, under law, of $28,800.? The average pay out for families in Cameron Parish is $3,000.
- FEMA has housed 144 families in hotels through our Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program.?
These funds paid directly to disaster victims can be used to replace and repair property or purchase another form of housing to meet their immediate needs. Additionally, these funds supplement loans from the Small Business Administration or insurance reimbursement for lost property.
FEMA has worked diligently on finding a solution to place mobile homes and park models that meet the state acceptable formaldehyde levels within Cameron Parish. Compounding the challenge of finding solutions is the geography of the parish and difficult flood plain management issues.
"Placing housing units in these high risk areas may jeopardize the health and safety of families residing in them," said Jim Stark, director of Louisiana's Transitional Recovery Office. "It is FEMA's responsibility to provide safe, suitable and habitable temporary housing either through direct housing or Individuals and Households Program funds. Further, we must base our decisions on the best available floodplain data."
The recent disasters caused substantial damages to FEMA temporary housing units in Louisiana. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike destroyed 585 park model units, mobile homes and travel trailers. This includes 174 destroyed in Cameron Parish, 25 in Calcasieu Parish, 36 in Vermilion Parish and 30 in Iberia Parish.? Additionally, approximately 250 Mississippi Cottages were destroyed in Mississippi.
FEMA continues to assist families in locating suitable and safe temporary housing through:
- Utilizing the available rental resources within a reasonable commuting distance
- Maximizing placement of units in non-V zones within Cameron Parish that meet the state's acceptable formaldehyde levels
- Caseworking each family in ensuring they are receiving the maximum eligible Individuals and Households Program grant?
- Encouraging renters to be placed in available rental resources, as that was their pre-disaster permanent housing solution?
- Placing units in commercial sites outside the V zone
- Placing families in existing and currently open group sites
- Working with local officials in neighboring parishes and media to ensure we are capturing all available rental units to place families
Families who were displaced by hurricanes Gustav or Ike and believe they are eligible for assistance must register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or online at www.FEMA.gov. Eligible FEMA applicants will also receive a telephone call...