LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Temporary housing units that recently arrived in Arkansas are already rolling out to eligible disaster survivors, state and federal emergency management officials announced Monday.
Dozens of manufactured homes have arrived at a Little Rock staging area from Selma, Ala., and Cumberland, Md. Some have already left that area for the sites where they will house eligible Arkansas families. The needs of disaster survivors and the availability of alternative housing will determine whether more temporary units will be required, said officials from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
To hasten the recovery process, the temporary units will be placed as close as possible to the location of the homes survivors are repairing or rebuilding. Eligible households have been identified based on a need for temporary housing while repairs to their primary residence are completed.
The manufactured housing units are part of a larger state/FEMA housing program that uses several resources to house eligible residents displaced by the April 14 to June 3 storms, tornadoes and flooding. While rental homes and apartments are preferred as permanent housing solutions, the temporary housing units will provide a short-term answer for some displaced Arkansans.
"We expect to locate these temporary units in areas where the demand for rental homes and apartments far outstrips the supply," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. "Eligible residents of hard-hit rural counties that had severely limited housing options before the disaster, for example, are likely candidates for manufactured housing."
The units will be provided, rent-free, for up to 18 months from the May 2 date of declaration as the final option in areas with limited available rental housing.
"This marks a significant recovery step for Arkansans driven from their homes by this disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper "While rental housing is the desired option, our goal is to ensure everyone has a safe place to live. Manufactured housing can be an excellent short-term solution."
At the staging area, the units are inspected and prepared for occupancy. They will then be moved to survivors' property, if feasible, or pads in commercial mobile home parks in designated counties.
Two types of housing units are available. Park models are 12-by-34 feet, with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Manufactured housing models are 14-by-60 feet, with three bedrooms and one bathroom. Each version has a model that meets the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards for people with disabilities, such as lower light switches and sinks, wider hallways and other features required for accessibility.
The units come fully furnished and move-in ready, with a stove, refrigerator and a microwave oven. Furnishings include a dining set, living room set, beds and clothing drawers.
The units are built to meet or surpass stringent safety and air quality specifications issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. All units, including furnishings and appliances, are new and built to quality and workmanship standards that are higher than those mandated by law. Safety features include interconnected smoke alarms, a NOAA Weather Radio and a fire extinguisher.
Each FEMA Temporary Housing Unit has been tested and passed an indoor air quality test to verify compliance with air quality standards established by Arkansas.
The units will be made available to eligible registered survivors. Survivors can register online at m.fema.gov, or by telephone toll free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Specialists are available by phone from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week.
For more online news and information about this disaster, visit www.fema.gov...