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Construction to start on FEMA housing communities

Reported July 5, 2011 at 6:05 PM CST by Lisa Olliges: Six hundred and forty-six families
need temporary housing and on Tuesday officials kicked off a fast-paced construction plan for two FEMA modular home parks.

One will sit alongside Prairie Flower Road on property across from the airport.

It’s called the Jeff Taylor Memorial Park to honor the sacrifice of the officer killed by lightning while working after the tornado.

A second modular home lot, called Hope Haven, will be located on the south end of the property.

Residents will enter it from either Highway 171, which is getting a left turn lane, or from the south.  The road will be extended through to Fountain Road.

Crews will spend the next three weeks working around the clock to add water and sewer lines, electric, phone and cable.  But say they look forward to it.

“We’ve been spending-spent the past month and a half out on sites removing destroyed homes and communities - this is our first project where we get to build something which is what we’re good at,” says Col. Daniel Patton, Commander of the Recovery Field Office.

All of the modular homes built across from the airport are expected to have three bedrooms and one bath.

Families with children in school are likely to be placed there first.  Smaller units will be available for single occupancy residents, possibly at other home park locations.

Posted July 5, 2011 at 1:45 PM CST

News release issued by FEMA

Columbia, Mo. – Eligible tornado survivors unable to find other forms of housing will soon be able to occupy temporary housing in two community sites beginning construction south of the Joplin Regional Airport.

City of Joplin and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, with the Corps of Engineers, conducted a briefing Tuesday, July 5, on land just south of the Joplin Regional Airport, off Highway 171. On that field, the agency will construct two mobile home communities that could accommodate up to 346 manufactured housing units.

“The start of this project is a significant step forward in the Joplin area disaster recovery,” said Joplin City Manager R. Mark Rohr. “Providing housing for the families who were displaced due to the May 22 tornado is important, because these families are ready to regain a sense of normalcy in their daily lives. Sitting down for a meal as a family or putting your kids to bed in their own rooms, may seem to be the simple things in life, but during disasters, they are some of the most important things in life. With these units, they will have those opportunities. And it’s with the assistance of the federal government that this can happen for Joplin residents.”

The City of Joplin has provided the land at no cost to FEMA to house survivors of the May 22 EF-5 tornado. The HUD-approved manufactured housing units are three-bedroom, one-bath, all-electric homes. Models meeting federal accessibility standards will be provided to families who indicate they need them. FEMA will pay all utilities except for cable and phone, but connections for those are available in the units.

“We understand the critical need to help the survivors of the devastating tornado that struck Joplin May 22,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner. “We tasked the Corps of Engineers to build this project as quickly as possible and we also expedited the environmental review process to be able to begin this project in a timely manner.”

With an eye to the future, infrastructure built for the parks will be left for city use when the temporary housing program has finished.

FEMA has mission-assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to oversee the design and development of the communities and manage the construction. Construction will occur on both sites simultaneously. For the first couple of weeks, work will go on 24 hours a day. Each park will be built in phases. As Phase One is completed, families will be able to move in while construction continues on the rest of the park. To ensure the safety of families moving into the units, security will be provided and the completed sections will be fenced off from those still under construction.

Occupants of the housing must be eligible for FEMA assistance and provide FEMA with information on what they will be doing to find permanent housing. The community sites provide housing up to 18 months dating from the May 9 disaster declaration.

The mobile home communities are only one aspect of the Housing Assistance portion of FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. Housing assistance provides rental assistance or funds for essential home repairs for those whose primary homes have been damaged or destroyed. FEMA staff continues to search for available rental resources and to assess commercial mobile home parks for available pads and lease those that are suitable. Seventy (70) families currently occupy housing units placed by FEMA in commercial parks. 

Registration for FEMA assistance has been extended to July 29. Anyone who has not yet registered for assistance should do so using one of these options:

Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov,

By smartphone through m.FEMA.gov,

By phone at FEMA’s toll-free registration line 800-621-FEMA (3362).

Individuals with hearing or speech impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585, or use 711 or  Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362.

Telephone registration is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., every day.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA disaster loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY call 1-800-462-7585; or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362.

Reported June 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM CST:  Help in the form of mobile housing is rolling into Joplin.

This morning we took a look inside one of the temporary housing units provided by FEMA.

Each unit, brought in from Alabama, features three bedrooms, one bath, and is fully furnished.

Eligible tornado victims can live in the trailers rent-free, including utilities, for up to 18 months.

Reported June 11, 2011 at 10:43 PM CST:  FEMA trailers arrive in Neosho offering displaced Joplin residents temporary housing.

FEMA officials pulled ten trailers so far into camp Crowder in Neosho.

The trailers are fully furnished equipped with three bedrooms and one bathroom and capable of comfortably housing a family of four.

Residents who get them will be responsible for utilities and before they can move in  the trailers must be inspected by FEMA officials.

Russ EdmonstonFEMA Spokesperson For Tornado Relief says, “We do five inspections really, We like to make sure that that the transportation of the these units hasn’t damaged anything, if there is damage than the contractor hauls it and repairs it.”

And more will come later.

62 people sheltered at Missouri Southern will get preference for the trailers.

Reported June 9, 2011 at 5:25 PM CST by Angela Garcia:  Some displaced families are still waiting for a place to call home.  FEMA responds to this need with their first shipment of temporary housing units set to arrive this weekend.

But the homes are not a permanent solution.  Residents who qualify for FEMA trailers can only stay there for a maximum of 18 months.

Severe storms and high winds are a major threat to mobile structures.  Some residents in need of housing say safety is a concern but they are just happy to have FEMA’s support.

“It’s great, great because otherwise without that I don’t know where we’d be,” says Lois Kain. 

“I mean I feel safe to an extent,” says Fallon Walker, “except for the fact of it being a trailer and the whole tornado.”

It’s vacant lots that FEMA officials say they’re looking to fill with some of their mobile units.  But as one landlord tells us, space is limited.

FEMA has been referring the majority of displaced citizens to rental properties but vacancies are now few and far between.

One FEMA official says anyone planning to live in a temporary manufactured home should have a plan for future storms.

“You can go to Ready.gov on our website and there are excellent advisements on how to prepare yourself during a storm if you’re on a mobile home or something like that,” says FEMA spokesperson Russ Edmonston.  “That’s good for anybody, but basically the idea is that nobody should stay in a manufactured unit when a threat comes like that.”


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