Residents in Temp Disaster Housing Reminded of Living Rules

November 28, 2005

Many survivors and evacuees of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are temporarily located in housing across the Gulf Coast states. People are living in travel trailers in commercial properties, state parks, or on private land, but no matter where Louisiana residents or evacuees are located, many of the housing rules remain the same.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) has a standardized process for those entering the housing program. A key part of the process for residents is agreeing to rules of occupancy.

State park rules are the same throughout Louisiana, but each park may have additional area-appropriate regulations. Louisiana state park rangers are certified law enforcement officers and are sworn to strictly enforce park rules and state laws.

Commercial trailer parks also have written rules. When Louisiana residents or evacuees get travel trailers in state parks or commercial trailer parks, they must obey both FEMA rules and rules of the campground trailer park.

FEMA requires the resident to sign an agreement complying to the rules of living in a FEMA travel trailer. The agreement says residents must keep the trailer and surrounding area clean; they must obey the laws and not commit crimes while living in the units provided by FEMA. Louisiana residents and evacuees who receive trailers need to look for permanent housing, and when they find it, they must let FEMA know they will be moving. Occupants must also respect the rights and privacy of their neighbors in the temporary housing area.

The agreement also contains a section listing all family members who live in the unit. It is important that all members be listed in case of an emergency. Only family members who lived in the home before the disaster, and who meet FEMA eligibility requirements, are allowed to live in the units.

All tenants in FEMA travel trailers are given copies of all the rules and regulations, and the rules are posted throughout the parks. If anyone in FEMA trailer violates the rules, the whole family may be subject to the consequences.

Officials remind residents that the rules governing the FEMA travel trailers are neither new, nor are they negotiable.

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