FEMA Housing park construction underway

Reported by Laila Morcos

There is some welcome news for those families left homeless by Hurricane Rita. Soon nearly 500 families will have temporary housing.

The mud is moving at what will be a massive FEMA home park. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Member Chris Landry says, "We all look forward to the nearly 500 families from Calcasieu Parish, Cameron Parish, and the surrounding areas that will be able to call this home."

The land is soon to house about 500 families. Mayor Randy Roach says, "It will accommodate 300 mobile homes and 196 travel trailers."

It's located near Chennault Airpark on leased Port of Lake Charles land. FEMA Housing Manager Ramona Van Cleve says, "It's temporary, emergency housing, and we're looking about an 18 month program." The first Rita families can move in around February 21st. She says, "Right now we have 5051 families at that stage of us trying to house them. So far, Van Cleve says 3600 Calcasieu Parish families have FEMA housing on their own property or at commercial sites. Van Cleve says, "You should use every resource available before a travel trailer or mobile home." Others are eligible for housing here or in other parks. Van Cleve says ,"We have a 180 unit mobile home park coming up, it's called Grande Acadian, just south of Sulphur." And there are two sites in Cameron.

But choosing these areas isn't very easy. Van Cleve says you have to look at, "The proximity to utilities. We must have water, sewer, electric. The proximity to schools, other services you would need moving into a trailer: grocery stores, things like that." Plus, the site can't be in a floodplain.

This is just phase one of the multimillion dollar project. Van Cleve says, "We can bring in, we're hoping, about a hundred and something the first phase, and then another hundred and some and another hundred and some." And for those families, this may be the first phase of rebuilding their lives after Rita.

For more information on getting FEMA housing assistance, call 1-800-621-FEMA. You can also get information on where you stand in the housing application process as well.