Louisiana Severe Storms and Flooding
Incident Period: Aug 11, 2016 - Aug 31, 2016
Declaration Date: Aug 14, 2016
More About This Disaster
Local News & Media
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Other Language Resources:
Resources for FEMA Housing Occupants
Manufacture Housing Unit Guide: (Noticias) (Tin Mới)
Statistics through Feb. 14 on FEMA’s Mobile Home Program: Nearly 3,000 Households Leave Temporary FEMA Units, Return Home
Myths versus Facts: Staying, Leaving or Renting a FEMA Mobile Home
Continued Housing Program Occupancy Requires a Long-Term Plan, Progress
Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) Not a Permanent Housing Option
Flood Recovery Reaches Milestone: 1,001 Households Transition into Long-Term
Fact Sheets and Updates
FEMA Mobile Home Occupancy Continues to Decline
FEMA Flood Maps and Zones Explained
The Latest Statistics on FEMA's Mobile Home Program
Even if Repair Work is Not Complete, FEMA Mobile Home Occupants May Be Home for the Holidays
FEMA Mobile Home Occupancy Continues to Decline
Some Flood Survivors may be Eligible to Purchase Their MHU
Mobile Home Occupants: What to Expect When Moving Out
Mobile Home Occupants May Return Home Before Repairs Are Complete
Resources Available to Help MHU Occupants ‘Return Home’
FEMA Mobile Home Occupancy Declines
FEMA Spells out Partner Responsibilities for MHU Occupants
Revocation Process for Manufactured Housing Units
Show Long-Term Housing Plan Progress to Keep Manufactured Housing Unit
Staying safe during inclement weather
Recovery Success Stories
Disaster Survivor’s Recovery Ends With New Beginnings
Disaster survivor Lawand Johnson is using her knowledge and experience to help other disaster survivors get a chance for a new beginning. Her knowledge comes from working a number of disaster recovery jobs and her experience is from going through the disaster recovery process herself after Louisiana’s August 2016 floods.
“2016 was not a good year for me” said Johnson.
In April, she was laid off from her job with the state, a position she held for almost 17 years. In May, she broke her foot playing flag football. In July, in order to save money while unemployed, Johnson moved everything she had placed in storage back into her house. Three weeks later, the August floods filled Johnson’s home with five and a half feet of water.
“So I was unemployed and lost all of my earthly possessions,” said Johnson. “It was horrible, just horrible.”
But just one week after the flood, Johnson was offered a job with the Department of Children and Family Services registering flood survivors for food assistance. It turned out to be an eye-opening experience.
“It was very humbling because when (a disaster) happens to you, you think you’re the only one it’s happening to.” Johnson said, “I thought I had it bad, but there were people that were worse off than me. I mean, way worse off.”
Johnson decided she wanted to continue helping flood survivors and worked for contractors on a number of disaster relief jobs.
“I’ve done everything,” Johnson said, “I’ve been working disaster relief since the disaster,” said Johnson.
The experiences included working in a Disaster Recovery Center with FEMA – a one stop shop of private and government resources for survivors – as a caseworker for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge where she helps survivors.
“I didn’t even know what FEMA did because I had never been through a disaster,” said Johnson.
Working at a DRC and consulting with another recovery representative, Johnson was able to get a great deal of information and direction for her own disaster recovery progress.
“Every time I would have a need I would just call FEMA and they’d tell me what I needed to do. I would write it up and send it in.” Johnson said, “If you follow that process you can get a lot done.”
Her experiences with FEMA also benefit her clients at Catholic Charities.
Shelia Hyde, Home for the Holidays
BATON ROUGE, La.—The dirt in Shelia Hyde’s front yard is freshly laid. It covers the area where her FEMA-provided mobile home sat for almost a year. Hyde said she is grateful to be back in her permanent home for the holidays. “The first night I cried,” said Hyde.
Those were tears of much needed joy after staying in a half-dozen places the last year and a half.
Hyde, a divorced mother of two grown sons, built her home in the Rushmore subdivision in Baton Rouge 13 years ago. The property is not located in a flood zone; had never flooded and like many survivors of the historic flood, she never expected it to flood.
In August 2016 Hyde found herself fleeing the flood waters in a small car with her sister, disabled niece, cousin and cousin’s husband. They all narrowly escaped when the vehicle started taking on water.
Over the next several weeks Hyde was homeless. She initially was at a shelter at the Celtic Center in Baton Rouge, then moved to her oldest son’s home in Broadmoor, but he already had a house full of flood survivors. Next, she went to live with a co-worker in Sherwood Forest and then hopped from hotel to hotel whenever she could find an available room.
Hyde ended up going back to her gutted home and “roughing it” for three weeks until her contractor said it would be too dusty and unhealthy for her to stay while his crew made repairs so she had to move back to a hotel.
Hyde said she didn’t understand much about FEMA.
“At first I didn’t know I would qualify for a trailer so I didn’t apply.”
Fortunately, she received guidance from a FEMA worker who was staying at the same hotel.
“It wasn’t long after I put my name on the list, probably two months, when I got the (mobile home),” said Hyde, “I was so excited. I was like a kid in a candy store.”
While she was grateful for a place of her own she said things would often break in the mobile home or didn’t work. Hyde was impressed how quickly FEMA’s maintenance contractors would make repairs.
“My best maintenance person was Mr. Tim Morgan. That man was very personable. While he was fixing things he would ask how I was doing and about the progress on my house.”
“I remember one night I couldn’t get the door to lock and I couldn’t sleep in the (mobile home) if it wouldn’t lock so I called Mr. Tim. He came out at 10 o’clock at night. That door gave him a fit, but he worked on it for two hours until I was secure in that (mobile home).”
Hyde said she also enjoyed her FEMA caseworker who made frequent visits to inspect her mobile home.
“Ms. Shirley I think was the sweetest person I ever met. She was so compassionate. She reminded me of one of my aunts who would sit and have a cup of coffee with you and just talk about everything.”
Two weeks before Thanksgiving 2017, Hyde was able to move back into her permanent house, she said, “It felt like home my first night.”
The FEMA-provided mobile home has been removed from the front yard so Hyde will also be able to put up holiday decorations.
“It happened so quickly, Hyde said “Ms. Shirley came to do the final walk through and they came to get the (mobile home) within days.”
In the beginning Hyde said she was frustrated and angry, but now Hyde said she understands the magnitude of this disaster recovery.
“FEMA had a lot of people to service; they even had to bring in additional people to help,” Hyde said. “The amount of FEMA people I met that were so helpful and had such kind words, I think FEMA did a great job.”
FEMA Programs and Restore Louisiana Help 2016 Flood Survivor Return to Her Home
Baton Rouge La. - Patience, appreciation and humility have helped Lillie Gumm navigate the recovery from the 2016 Louisiana floods to return to her home.
Gumm’s home took in up to 4 feet of water in places. About five feet of water stood outside her house. Her home was unlivable. With two months of rental assistance from FEMA in hand, she looked for a place to stay, only to find no rental units were available.
Instead, she stayed with friends and relatives until she was notified that she qualified for a two-bedroom FEMA manufactured housing unit. Gumm moved into a unit in one of the FEMA MHU communities.
“The unit was comfortable. My basic needs were met. I had cooking sets and a coffee pot,” she said. “It was an easy transition.”
Although the unit was comfortable, not everything was perfect. When the wind blew, vents on top of the unit whistled, reminding her of the music in a spaghetti western movie.
“I felt like I should be in the desert waiting on Clint Eastwood to arrive,” she said with a chuckle. “I found the humor in it.”
While she lived in the MHU, Gumm worked to get back into her own home. First, she used grant money to hire a contractor to repair her home.
The standard of the contractor’s work did not make the house livable again. Disappointed that she could not return home, she applied for assistance from the Restore Louisiana program.
She was one of the first to apply and also one of the first to have a home completed through the program. Because of her earlier bad experience with a contractor, Gumm opted to have the Restore Louisiana contractors repair her home. This meant almost the entire home repair was completed by state-hired contractors.
“The Restore people were kind and compassionate,” she said. “Some of them had been flooded as well.”
The Restore Louisiana contractors even picked out colors and patterns for Gumm. They replaced her flooring with vinyl throughout.
“They chose beautiful colors and patterns,” she said.
Although back in her home, Gumm is still transitioning. She is sleeping on an air mattress and doesn’t have a lot of furniture yet. Catholic Charities St. Vincent De Paul provided her a washer, dryer and refrigerator, but she is still missing many things she had before the flood.
“You don’t realize the things you don’t have any more that you did before the flood,” she said. She knows that not everything lost in the flood, such as pictures of her children and grandchildren, can be replaced.
“It is a long process to transition fully,” she said. “It is a very tough experience that will test every emotion.”
Gumm said patience, appreciation and humility were the emotions she experienced the most during her flood recovery. Surviving the flood was a humbling experience.
“There were no rich, no poor. It was a humbling experience. I learned to appreciate the fact I made it through the flood. There were those who didn’t. Everyone helped us. I learned to appreciate them and be humble,” she said. “As horrible as it was, there was a lot of good.”
For more information on the Restore Louisiana program, visit http://restore.la.gov.
Mobile Home Occupants Open Their Doors, Share Recovery Insights with Young FEMA Corps Members
Two young FEMA Corps team members working with 2016 flood survivors still living in FEMA-supplied mobile homes hear first-hand the challenges of recovery. They also hear stories of success and feel the pride in accomplishment survivors share with them as they rebuild.
For the past months, FEMA Corps members Christopher Coles and Casey Regnier, both 22, have been on a number of site visits with the FEMA officials that check on the progress of Baton Rouge area residents living in FEMA mobile homes.
Coles, of Rockford, Michigan, and Regnier of Neenah, Wisconsin, are part of a national service initiative through federal AmeriCorps program. FEMA Corps provides opportunities for young adults to volunteer with the Department of Homeland Security, in exchange for some college scholarship money and a positive work experience. More than 300 FEMA Corps members were deployed to Baton Rouge to support ongoing flood-recovery efforts over the past year. Both Coles and Regnier arrived in June and say they are encouraged by what they’ve witnessed
“Every site visit I’ve done, the survivor has invited us into their home and has been excited to show us their progress,” says Coles. “One man must have spent 10 or 15 minutes taking us through his house, showing how his wife had designed everything and said it was now their dream home.”
Coles and Regnier both said survivors seem grateful for the assistance they’ve received from FEMA. They see it as an opportunity to not just repair their home, but also make it a little better.
“I’ve seen a number of survivors who come from vulnerable communities, and they see this as an opportunity to get back on their feet; to start life over again,” says Regnier. “Maybe their home wasn’t the safest home before, but now they can make sure they have all of those safeguards in place and have a sound structural place to live.”
Regnier says survivors have mentioned on several occasions that if a disaster would occur again they would feel safer about living in their newly constructed home. Some of the mitigation steps by survivors include elevating their homes, installing hurricane-sturdy windows and using mold-resistant paint.
Seeing progress in their home is helping survivors move past last year’s flood. According to Regnier, many say they’re eager to pay forward the generosity.
“Right after Hurricane Harvey hit, when we were doing site visits, many survivors were talking about how they wanted to get out of their mobile housing unit faster, because they saw the need in Texas.” Coles said.
Overall, about 4,600 manufactured housing units from FEMA were provided as temporary homes. Thirteen months later, about 2,800 households remain. FEMA officials say most are making steady progress and most are expected to be back home by the time the program ends in February 2018.
An average of about 31 families are moving out each week as they complete repairs or find other suitable, more permanent housing.
Persistence Pays Off for Couple Returning Home after Months in FEMA Mobile Home
After eight months in one of FEMA’s temporary housing units, Steve and Jana Landry are happy to be home.
Getting there wasn’t easy. The Landrys, along with thousands of other survivors of the August 2016 floods, faced numerous challenges. A bit of “Louisiana pride” has gone a long way in helping survivors get back on their feet.
“We’re part of Louisiana’s DNA and can go back to the way things were,” said Jana during a mid-August interview when the couple was counting the days before they moved back in.
The Landrys join the nearly 1,800 former occupants of FEMA manufactured housing that, to date, have been able to return home. In most instances, survivors chose to rebuild or repair their flood-damaged homes. Others purchased new homes elsewhere. In all instances, it took a lot of determination, hard work, and the support of family, friends, and community.
“We know how challenging it can be for disaster survivors to put their lives back in order,” said FEMA’s William J. Doran III, the federal coordinating officer in charge of the flood recovery in Louisiana. “For those that have been able to return home, congratulations are in order. For those still working hard to meet that challenge, we’re on your side.”
The August 2016 flood nearly destroyed the three-bedroom ranch in Denham Springs that the Landrys have called home for 26 years.
All carpets were ruined and had to be removed. Interior walls and sheet rock had to be gutted to the frames. Parts of the roof had to be replaced. The Landrys lost all their appliances—dishwasher, refrigerator, clothes dryer, washing machine—and electronics, too. Most of the furniture was ruined as well, including an early 20th century sewing machine and a Cherrywood executive desk. Two windows were broken. Three cars were destroyed. It took 13 weeks for Jana Landry to disinfect everything that had been touched by the floodwaters.
After several months of renting, a three bedroom, two-bath FEMA mobile home of approximately 840 square feet was installed in front of their home in late December.
While comfortable, it was a temporary home at best. “We were very grateful to have a roof over our heads,” Jana said.
Getting back home was a team effort. Neighbors, church groups, and a local softball and football team pitched in to help the Landrys. A New Orleans family affected by Katrina came twice to help.
Jana said she, her husband, and 20-year-old son Nathan, are thankful for the help they received during the yearlong ordeal.
Overall, about 4,300 survivors of the August floods received manufactured housing units from FEMA as temporary homes. Thirteen months later, about 2,800 households remain in temporary housing. FEMA officials say most are making steady progress and are expected to be back home by the time the program ends in February 2018.
An average of about 35 families are moving out each week as they complete repairs or find other suitable, more permanent housing.
Non-FEMA Forms of Recovery Assistance
There are many ways survivors of Louisiana’s August severe storms and floods can get help:
Clothing, Food, etc.
- 2-1-1 is a single access point for resources like food, clothing, financial assistance and health resources. Visit www.louisiana211.org.
- Go online to www.brfoodbank.org or call 225-359-9940 if you’re in the Greater Baton Rouge area.
- Go online to www.no-hunger.org or call 855-392-9338 if you’re in Acadiana or the Greater New Orleans area.
- Go online to www.fbcenla.org or call 318-445-2773 if you’re in central Louisiana.
Funding Sources to Enhance Protection from Disasters
- If you have a National Flood Insurance Program policy and a substantially damaged home or business, you may be eligible for additional funds related to complying with local regulations, such as elevating your property. Contact your flood insurance agent for more information.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses, most private nonprofits, homeowners and renters. If your loan application is approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples include retaining walls, seawalls and sump pumps. The funds would be in addition to the amount of the approved loan, but may not exceed 20 percent of the total amount of SBA-verified physical damage to real and personal property. Applicants are encouraged to discuss mitigation questions with an SBA representative. Learn more by going online to www.sba.gov/disaster, calling 800-659-2955 or emailing email@example.com. If you use TTY, call 800-877-8339.
Help for Farmers
- Farmers may be able to get help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for livestock and crop losses. Learn more at fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/index.
- Get free legal assistance with getting FEMA help and other benefits, insurance claims, home repair contracts, replacing wills and other legal documents, consumer protection, counseling for mortgage-foreclosures, and counseling on landlord/tenant problems. Go online to www.slls.org or www.louisianalawhelp.org or call the Louisiana Civil Justice Center at 800-310-7029 to learn more.
Filing a Flood Insurance Claim
If you have experienced a flood, you can file your flood insurance claim by following these three steps.
STEP ONE: NOTIFY YOUR INSURER TO START THE CLAIMS PROCESS
After experiencing a flood, contact your agent or insurance company to file a claim. Make sure you have the following information handy:
- The name of your insurance company
- Your policy number
- A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached at all times
An adjuster should contact you within a few days of filing your claim. If you do not hear from an adjuster, you can contact your insurance agent or company again.
STEP TWO: DOCUMENT THE DAMAGE
Separate damaged from undamaged property. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage to your home and possessions to prepare your repair estimate.
- Take photographs of all of the damaged property, including discarded objects, structural damage, and standing floodwater levels.
- Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their date of purchase, value, and receipts, if possible.
- Officials may require disposal of damaged items so, if possible, place flooded items outside of the home.
STEP THREE: COMPLETE A PROOF OF LOSS TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM
Your adjuster will assist you in preparing a Proof of Loss (which is your sworn statement of the amount you are claiming including necessary supporting documentation) for your official claim for damages. A Proof of Loss can be many things, but must contain the specific details set forth in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. You'll need to file your Proof of Loss with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. This document substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or insurance company can make payment.
You'll receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.
Types of Assistance
If you have questions about types of assistance available to you, the best way to get answers is to contact a FEMA representative who can walk you through your options. Call 800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service). If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585. You can also visit a Disaster Recovery Center to speak with a representative in person.
For the Media
- Press Releases and related blog posts
- MHU Occupany Update, December 2017
- FEMA Blog: Update 1, Update 2
Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) specific materials
- Inside look at Manufactured Housing Units with Craig Fugate
- Manufacted Housing Units Fact Sheet
- Additional Footage of Manufactured Housing Units
- Photos: MHU Exterior, MHU Interior
Additional reference information and graphics:
Photos & Images
|Total Housing Assistance (HA) - Dollars Approved||$612,168,474.28|
|Total Other Needs Assistance (ONA) - Dollars Approved||$163,868,348.22|
|Total Individual & Households Program Dollars Approved||$776,036,822.50|
|Individual Assistance Applications Approved||83010|
|Emergency Work (Categories A-B) - Dollars Obligated||$420,487,766.35|
|Permanent Work (Categories C-G) - Dollars Obligated||$249,762,107.50|
|Total Public Assistance Grants Dollars Obligated||$682,929,873.85|