FEMA housing may be permanent

Published 8:53 am Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Temporary may transform to permanent.

In the aftermath of the April 16 tornadoes that left a trail of death and destruction across North Carolina, including two twisters that touched down in Bertie and Hertford counties, FEMA has supplied funding to rebuild as well as temporary housing for those living in areas where rental units are limited.

Now, FEMA is taking their assistance one step further.

According to Jack E. (Gene) Kauffman, FEMA Public Affairs Field Specialist, those currently residing in temporary housing supplied by the federal agency can purchase those residential dwellings. Kauffman noted that 28 FEMA mobile homes are now occupied by disaster applicants in eight counties, the bulk of those are in Bertie County.

“Those applicants will have the option to buy their mobile homes.  This option is only available to those who now occupy the homes,” Kauffman said.

The sale price of those dwellings, according to Kauffman, is calculated based on the type of unit, whether it was new or used when the applicant move in, and the number of months it has been occupied by the applicant.  If the applicant decides not to buy the home it will not affect their eligibility for continued temporary housing, which is available for up to 18 months from the date of the federal disaster.

There are two types of temporary homes available in North Carolina.  A three-bedroom/one bath mobile home and a two-bedroom/one bath park model.

Providing such housing in the immediate aftermath of the deadly storms was an option of last resort. FEMA initially attempted to award housing grants to pay rent while other living arrangements could be made. However, as was the case in Bertie and Hertford counties, the limited availability of rental residential property led officials to a decision to provide temporary housing in FEMA mobile homes.

The furnished housing units include three-bedroom, one-bathroom mobile homes up to 70 feet long and two-bedroom, one-bathroom park models up to 40 feet long. Each unit is equipped with a NOAA weather radio and meets strict specifications for indoor air quality. Some units are designed to be fully accessible according to the guidelines of Americans with Disabilities Act.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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