BATON ROUGE, La. – The destruction after hurricanes Laura and Delta left thousands of Louisiana residents without a safe and secure place to stay. FEMA’s Direct Housing Mission has been working to get those survivors with housing needs into temporary housing, whether through financial rental assistance or through FEMA-provided temporary-housing units. Survivor Janet Fontenot shares her story of once living in complete dread to safely sleeping in her own bed as a result of FEMA’s efforts.
Fontenot moved into her rental home in Sulphur one month before Hurricane Laura devastated southwest Louisiana. Fontenot said she and her family of three were homeless until FEMA provided them with temporary housing.
“This year has been... it was tragic,” she said. “When we came home to check our houses mine was gone. We lost everything.
“I did apply with FEMA, but I hadn’t applied for housing. But FEMA kept reaching out to me to see if I had gotten housing, and I hadn’t gotten anything yet, because there is nothing here to rent and all of a sudden they called with some keys to this travel trailer, and I mean I was so excited.”
FEMA works with each applicant every step of the way during the direct-housing process to place families into units suitable for their unique needs. That may be a non-motorized RV for those who have repairs that can be made in a relatively short amount of time. Others may need a manufactured housing unit (MHU) since repairs to their homes may need more time to complete.
There are numerous critical steps that must occur before applicants can be placed in a housing unit. The type and size of the unit ordered is determined by the family composition and possible access or functional needs.
It is a top priority of FEMA to keep families in their communities whenever feasible so they can remain close to their homes, jobs, schools and places of worship.
To assist in determining the temporary-housing needs for renters, FEMA is making calls to landlords to determine the condition and repair plans for damaged leased homes.
FEMA wants to remind eligible survivors who received a direct-housing referral to stay in contact with FEMA. To keep your case moving forward you must keep FEMA informed and updated on any changes.
The housing process takes time; FEMA’s priority is to continue to assist families with their housing needs and to ensure those in units are working towards a more permanent housing plan. FEMA is working hard for everyone to have a place to call home.
“It’s beautiful in here,” Fontenot said. “My son has his own bedroom, and we have our own bedroom. They're so convenient. I mean this year was horrible but ended up wonderful. I thank ya’ll so much. I’ve got a place to call home.”
To watch a video about Janet Fontenot’s story visit Hurricane Laura Housing Mission - Janet Fontenot Testimonial - YouTube.
For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, visit Louisiana Hurricane Laura (DR-4559-LA). For the latest information on information on Hurricane Delta, visit Louisiana Hurricane Delta (DR-4570-LA). Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6.