ORLANDO, Fla. -- People who remain in temporary disaster housing two years after the 2004 hurricanes struck the State of Florida now have until Oct. 31 to fulfill their permanent housing plan, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today. Occupants of FEMA-issued manufactured housing originally faced a Sept. 26 deadline.
"We wanted to give individuals, counties and voluntary agencies a final chance to take advantage of recent solutions developed to help disaster victims find a permanent place to live," said Scott R. Morris, director of FEMA's Florida Long-Term Recovery.
"FEMA's goal has always been to work closely with local communities in order to assist their recovery," said Morris. "With a hard look at the numbers, it is clear that everyone could use a little additional time to complete their plans and take full advantage of FEMA's programs. This 35-day extension will enable the families in the final stages of recovery to finally cross the finish line from temporary to permanent housing."
After providing 18 months of free accommodation and granting six additional months of low-rent housing, FEMA is continuing to manage remaining housing needs on a case-by-case basis. This includes working with hundreds of applicants who are eligible to buy a mobile home or travel trailer at an affordable cost. The agency also is continuing to identify recipients for a manufactured housing donation program. The program allows local governments and certain voluntary organizations to legally take possession of the FEMA-provided trailers and mobile homes, at no cost, in order to continue to provide housing for disaster victims.
"These are just two more ways FEMA is coordinating with its partners to help individuals get back on their feet after the historic 2004 season," Morris said. "The agency has provided all of the help available under the law, and now the community must reach out to help disaster victims during this final push."
To date, 93 percent of the more than 17,000 individuals and families who lived in FEMA-provided travel trailers or mobile homes have found permanent housing.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.