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Cameron Parish residents stonewalled with FEMA temporary housing procedures

Updated: Dec. 10, 2020 at 9:37 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -As we continue recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, temporary housing has been a major concern for many residents, especially in Cameron Parish.

Many residents say they’re running into roadblocks when it comes to installing trailers onto their property. The question now is, is it the parish or FEMA holding up the process?

“They came out, marked where they were going to put it and we haven’t heard anything since.

Almost four months out from Hurricane Laura and the waiting game continues for residents in Cameron.

“They marked out the spot and it’s been so long that the paint has worn off..”

Tad Theriot says he was approved for his FEMA trailer when his property was inspected on November 2nd...since then he hasn’t heard a word.

“When we came back..the house was gone and those bricks were the only thing left on the slab.”

It’s the same case for many residents in lower Cameron Parish.

“I’m a single parent with two girls...they came and marked it out...they have hundreds of trailers and campers all over...but when can they deliver them?”

That’s the issue that now plagues not only the residents but parish officials.

“So, you’re telling me the RV’s have to meet flood elevation levels?”

After Hurricane Rita, the standard flood elevation level for residential properties in Cameron was set to 12 feet. Within the last few years, that elevation level increased by 2 feet for most residents.

“We follow the rules and regulations. If we can’t install a temporary home at your property then, we’ll give you an opportunity to have a home in a commercial park,” said FEMA Direct Housing & Logistics lead Phillip Price.

List of parks where FEMA has leased pads, so far:

CALCASIEUJEAN LAFITTE
CALCASIEUHIDDEN PONDS RAVIA
CALCASIEUEVERGREEN ESTATES
CALCASIEUPIN OAK
CALCASIEUSULPHUR PALMS
CALCASIEUCROSS RIVERS GOODMAN
CALCASIEUSOUTH PARK
CALCASIEUDOVE CREEK
CALCASIEUCROSS RIVERS GOODMAN
CALCASIEULITTLE LAKE CHARLES
JEFFERSON DAVISSONNIER’S PARKSIDE
JEFFERSON DAVISHATHAWAY MHP
JEFFERSON DAVISLACASSINE RV PARK
VERNONCRAFTS COMMUNITY
CAMERONHERBERT ESTATES

“If they put the trailers in Grand Lake, I still have to drive 40 minutes to my house to work on it. I need something close...like on my property.”

Right now, the agency has set up one temporary FEMA park in Cameron..north of the intercoastal...which some residents in Lower Cameron say is an inconvenience.

“Where is there not a flood zone...If you pull up to a property and they don’t have a hill there...you’re just giving people false hope,” Theriot said.

“Everybody sitting in the room is in a flood zone...so, how are they going to help these people,” said District 2 Juror Curtis Fountain. “To fight elevation in Cameron Parish, it’s a myth. It’s a myth is what it is.”

The agency says they will continue working with the parish to bring more convenient options to residents with properties that fall outside of the elevation requirement.

“Work orders have been issued for private sites. Those all have to have elevation certificates and the contractors are in the process of pulling those certificates,” said Price.

FEMA says they are currently waiting on elevation certificates for a total of 8 residential properties in Cameron to have trailers installed. Currently, there are no FEMA trailers installed on any private or residential property in Cameron.

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