Officials in Calcasieu Parish provided an update on the Hurricane Laura response. At the briefing were officials from GOSHEP and FEMA who spoke on housing for residents in need.
GOSHEP officials ask that those in Calcasieu Parish continue to register for FEMA assistance. They say that many residents affected are staying with friends, family members or are in hotels.
More than 84,000 residents have registered for federal assistance. That number is more than 95 percent of the households in Calcasieu Parish. $91 million dollars have been put in the hands of residents in terms of assistance, officials say.
A direct housing program has been submitted for those affected by the storm. If a resident is currently in a hotel room managed by the state, FEMA asks that residents continue to take advantage of that until a permanent housing is available.
Rental assistance is available to eligible survivors looking for a place to live, or for renting an RV or mobile home.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency released a broad outline of plans to provide housing for residents in Southwest Louisiana whose homes were left uninhabitable due to Hurricane Laura.
FEMA Division Supervisor Jerry Stolar announced at the Wednesday, September 23rd Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s public briefing that FEMA would provide assistance with the following options:
- Rental Assistance
- Placing a FEMA RV or manufactured home on a survivor’s property
- Placing survivors in a FEMA RV or manufactured home at an approved RV or manufactured home park
Details of the program are forthcoming.
Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Tony Guillory signed two executive orders September 23rd to facilitate the FEMA program. One allows for the temporary dwellings to be placed on properties in unincorporated areas and the second waives fees for permits to repair or replace structures.
FEMA will contact residents whose homes have been identified as being uninhabitable to begin the program. FEMA asks residents to contact them if they are not reached within 7-10 days. Visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov , download the FEMA mobile app at fema.gov/about/news-multimedia/app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.
Currently, FEMA is moving trailers and units into Louisiana. They will be inspected in Alexandria before use. FEMA says they hope to get units onto individual properties but as a last resort, trailers could be placed at sites in certain approved areas.
Households are being contacted for federal assistance. For those who do not qualify for FEMA housing options, they say they will be looking at options in conjunction with local governments and non-profit organizations.
FEMA did not provide a date for when mobile housing units will be available for residents in need or when they may be available in Calcasieu Parish. The manufactured units have been built to housing and development standards and models of this type were used in 2016 during that flooding incident.
FEMA says that 9,200 people have been approved for direct housing. 7,600 are in Calcasieu Parish.
2300 call-outs have been made and about 500 have declined housing assistance. Those people do have the option to request the housing at a later time despite declining the initial call.
If anyone misses a call concerning housing, contact FEMA 800-621-3362.
Locally, officials say they will be working with state and federal officials to make the process as quick as possible without "red tap" holding up the process.
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