Rule could limit where FEMA mobile homes are set up in Ascension Parish

Rule could limit where FEMA mobile homes are set up in Ascension Parish

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Some leaders are worried that one regulation on FEMA's new mobile homes could greatly limit where they are set up in Ascension Parish, forcing people to live far away from their own property.

The "Manufactured Housing Units" can be installed on people's property, in commercial parks, or – as a last case scenario – in parks established and maintained by FEMA.

Under the rules, however, the units cannot be located in places deemed as "Special Flood Hazard Areas" – a specific type of flood plain.

Much of Ascension Parish is designated as this particular type of flood zone, according to maps posted online by the parish government. That includes the communities of St. Amant and Sorrento, which were severely impacted by the flooding.

"When you put that designation and put that blanket over where it can't go. Well, it's basically it can't go in Ascension Parish, in 70 percent of Ascension Parish," said Parish Council Chairman Randy Clouatre.

The historic flooding had a wide impact in the parish, with between 17,000 and 19,000 homes impacted. Possibly more than 50,000 people are now left to rebuild.

Many of them could be forced to live in those FEMA mobile homes.

Clouatre said the restriction could force many Ascension Parish residents to set up their mobile homes far from their own property, thereby serving as a hindrance to the rebuilding process.

"It's not feasible for a person trying to rebuild their home, rebuild their lives, and get back in working in the community, to send them away," Clouatre said.

He is calling on Louisiana leaders at the national level to ask FEMA for an exception to the rule.

"We need them to go, beat up somebody, get the red tape removed," he said.

A spokesman for FEMA said the reason mobile homes cannot be placed in those areas is largely a safety precaution for the people inside. He also said letting the homes get flooded would be a waste of taxpayer money.

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