Emails indicate FEMA is out of MHUs
BATON ROUGE- If you are currently waiting for a FEMA Mobile Housing Unit, you might have a bit longer to wait. Emails obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit appear to show the program is out of inventory.
Two weeks ago, FEMA told us their inventory was low, but more trailers were on the way. Tonight, a FEMA branch director said in his own words, there's no excuse for it.
Lavone Hatch never imagined the house she's lived in for 45 years would flood. But, when it did, she went through the proper steps to try to get temporary housing. She did not have flood insurance.
"I applied on the 28th of September for a FEMA trailer," Hatch said. "I have not heard from them. I have called every day since then and when I call I am speaking to different people every time and getting different answers every time."
Initially, Hatch recalls FEMA reps telling her to pull up her shrubs in front of her house to make way for the MHU. She immediately took care of it, but tonight she still has no trailer.
"The man told me it would be ten days at the most," Hatch said.
An email chain obtained by the Investigative Unit appears to explain the delay.
Days ago, Central Mayor Junior Shelton began asking FEMA for an update about why the process was moving so slowly. FEMA Branch Director Mark Wilson wrote,"I will not bulls*** you. Ask Gerard Landry."
Shelton responds, "Please send an email explaining the glitch and a spreadsheet of updates."
Wilson with FEMA writes, "I can tell you that we are waiting on additional units. I believe we short on one and two bedroom units. Course, there is no excuse."
Shelton says he needs something on Kimball.
Wilson responds late Tuesday afternoon, "We are waiting on inventory. The JFO (Joint Field Office) is looking at purchasing units from private sector to make up shortfall."
"I want some answers," Hatch said. "If you're not going to bring it, call and say we are not going to bring the trailer so I can make other arrangements."
Hatch has no idea when she'll ever get to call her house a home again. Tonight, she calls FEMA nothing short of a joke.
"I'm assuming they're having meetings with people in the phone banks in the mornings coaching them what to say and tell people to brush them off," Hatch said.