Number of occupants in FEMA trailers decline since 2016 flood
DENHAM SPRINGS - The number of people living in FEMA mobile home units after the 2016 flood is declining, but there is still work to be done. Eight-two percent of the households have recovered, finding permanent homes. That leaves hundreds still in temporary housing.
"I was expecting to get out of here as soon as possible. It's depressing living in a FEMA home,” said Evelyn Sheldon.
Sitting next to 10 other FEMA mobile home units in Denham Springs, Evelyn and Albert Sheldon have been returning to unit 12 for more than a year.
“When you're out there working, you have money coming in every week. When you're retired you only have money coming in once a month, and it isn't near enough,” said Albert.
The flood poured 5 feet of water into their previous home. They have a new trailer to live in, but their driveway is in bad shape.
“We had dirt dumped there, but it's still taking forever to get packed,” explained Evelyn.
With a May 15 deadline to move out, the two are scrambling.
“One guy came out and said he wanted $4,880 just to fix my road, and I don't have that,” said Evelyn.
Down the street is another FEMA unit.
“Its been hard to even get up and down the stairs sometimes,” Bruce Ashley told WBRZ.
Ashley is living on the same lot as his once-flooded home. He, too, is mentally ready to move out after falling victim to contractor fraud.
“It was bad, I had humps in the wall, the pantry was crooked,” said Ashley. “I lost everything so getting back into my bed will be a nice thing.”
Restore Louisiana is helping Ashley rebuild. His house is expected to be done in a week or two.
These are just two households out of 223 that FEMA is still providing for in Livingston Parish. In Ascension Parish there are 103 households, and in East Baton Rouge Parish there are 430 households. Statewide, 999 households remain in FEMA-provided mobile homes.
“I'm blessed to have a place to stay don't get me wrong,” said Evelyn. “It’s just taking time to get everything done.”
Out of 4,500 FEMA mobile homes provided across 16 parishes, 3,500 hundred households have been able to move out.