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More than 500 FEMA housing units approved for disaster victims

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BATON ROUGE – Officials with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, FEMA and the Small Business Administration gave their weekly update on Thursday afternoon.

FEMA officials say that 557 mobile home units have been approved and placed for flood victims either on commercial and private sites. Currently there are 196 flood victims in the units.

Tito Hernandez, FEMA housing expert, said the process to get a mobile home unit takes on about two to three weeks. According to Hernandez, during that time the units must be inspected to ensure the units are safe for families and livable. Hernandez said duties include, inspections for waterlines, debris, site location, ensuring appliances are working, waterlines are connected and proper permits are obtained.

Hernandez said that FEMA has already ordered 1,500 units for flood victims and are waiting for those to be delivered. However, Hernandez said that about 2,500 residents are still living in 329 hotels across the state.

He stated that FEMA offers a liaison program for to assist displaced residents in finding a landlord and vacant rental properties.

One East Baton Rouge resident, Rose Walker, said that she is very pleased with the FEMA housing unit that she received to house her family and daughter with special needs. According to Walker, it took about 3 weeks to receive the unit and it was "fully furnished with working bathrooms" and completely different from the FEMA trailers following Hurricane Katrina.

Hernandez urged for those who have been denied FEMA assistance to appeal their decision within in 90 days. He said that with the 147,000 that have requested assistance and the 69,000 that have received it, "some will fall through the cracks." He stated for residents to call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or to visit any of the disaster recovery centers throughout the state in order to do so. Recovery center locations can be found here

Officials with the Shelter at Home program stated that there have been more than 20,000 applicants with 320 homes completed. Officials said that 372 homes are completed and waiting for final site visits and another 5186 are in the construction phase.

The Small Business Administration has approved $694.2 million in loans to businesses, non-profits, homeowners and renters throughout the state. Officials stated that flood victims should register with FEMA first and then apply for the programs loans. You can apply here

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