Families living in tents or moldy homes wait for FEMA housing
DENHAM SPRINGS - Some residents in Livingston Parish are resorting to “pop-up property” after they’ve been ejected from their homes by recent flooding.
WWL-TV’s Ashley Rodrigue visited Susie Circle in Denham Springs where she says the current look of that street typifies how many residents of the area are being forced to live. Shane Foreman is one of those citizens who has taken to tent living because mold is taking over his trailer home despite gutting it according to strict directions.
Foreman told Rodrigue that he hasn’t heard from FEMA yet about alternative housing options. He says that even when he does, he isn’t expecting much.
"We heard that they're not even gonna let them put trailers back here because it's a flood zone," he said, "The nearest place would be about 60 miles from us. I done lost both of my vehicles, so I can't get back and forth 60 miles a day."
Just around the corner, WWL said James McCoy is also making due in a tent for now. A family across the street from McCoy has converted a school bus into a temporary residence. FEMA has told McCoy he’ll be receiving a manufactured home within 10 days and offered him a hotel room in the meantime, but McCoy says he would rather stay in a tent to keep an eye on his tools and other equipment. Shane Foreman also noted that people stealing things in the temporary tent city has been a problem.
U.S. Rep. John Mica from Florida, a member of the committee that oversees FEMA, said he was equally unenthusiastic by what he saw during his tour of the region.
"This is one of the biggest displacement of people I've ever seen in the country and the response is pitiful," said Rep. Mica.
FEMA says it is prioritizing efforts to get people back into their own homes instead of focusing primarily on temporary housing solutions.
"We have not only a temporary sheltering program that FEMA is supporting and helping thousands of families, but also a 'Shelter in Home' program that is FEMA-funded and will provide the opportunity for many survivors to move into their homes faster," said agency Director of Public Affairs Rafael Lemaitre.
FEMA reports it has already issued nearly $300 million in assistance. Teams are still visiting flooded neighborhoods to ensure that all victims apply for the help they need to get back on their feet.