Hurricane’s Displaced Residents to Move Into Temporary Housing

October 18, 2005

Individuals and families in those Texas counties affected by Hurricane Rita will now have temporary housing in travel trailers until their damaged homes are repaired.

Travel trailers are one type of temporary housing option provided by U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when there is a shortage of rental housing available after a disaster.

“We want people who have exhausted all their options for temporary housing to have a place to live that is safe and secure,” said Tom Davies, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for disaster recover operations in Texas. “Travel trailers are housing of last resort, but they do provide a temporary solution to those who would otherwise not have any place to go.”

Other types of disaster assistance include repair grants and rental assistance. FEMA is doing pre-placement interviews with 30,000 people in the affected counties to facilitate getting them into temporary housing as soon as possible. More travel trailers will be provided as FEMA determines short-term housing needs.

State Coordinating Officer Frank Cantu said, “We are working to assess the needs of everyone, so we’ll know whether a travel trailer is the answer for them or not.”

Travel trailers are for those who applied for federal disaster assistance and have critical housing needs. Those who may be eligible include:

* People who cannot find other forms of housing.
* People with medical conditions, but who are able to live in trailers.
* Families living in crowded conditions.
* Persons living in damaged homes that are not safe.

The travel trailers will be located either at a homeowner’s damaged residence site or at a nearby commercial site so that they can be hooked up to the existing electricity and water lines and heated with propane gas. This allows the homeowner to stay close to their damaged residence while it is being repaired.

All disaster recovery actions are undertaken with the hope that people can return to their own home or acquire other permanent housing.

Applicants first must register for assistance by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or by going to: to be considered for any form of FEMA disaster housing assistance, including travel trailers. Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may call (TTY) 800-462-7585 .

If applicants are willing to accept a travel trailer and agree to the terms, they will be leased a unit. There is no rent unless the applicant has received insurance benefits to pay rent. The occupant pays utilities.

The agency travel trailers are required to comply with all local building code and housing regulations. Sites must be inspected and declared suitable by FEMA officials.

Before a travel trailer or mobile home can be moved onto private property, an inspector will call to arrange a visit to review the site. After the site is approved and permits obtained, a unit will be delivered and a time arranged to hook up the utilities and ready the unit for occupancy.

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