(WAFB) - With 2,550 flood affected families still waiting on a temporary mobile home, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Wednesday it is averaging 30 mobile home deliveries per day.
Chuck Maskell of FEMA said during a conference call with reporters that his agency has a goal of increasing that number over the next several weeks in order to reach a self-imposed January 31 deadline of getting all the homes delivered. Maskell says that deadline is contingent on weather conditions.
As of Wednesday, December 14, 2,853 mobile homes had been delivered to flood victims. Flood survivors who apply for the mobile homes must often go through many steps, including have electricity installed to the site, and in some cases, getting permission from neighbors for delivery trucks to enter their land in order to properly install the homes, Maskell said.
FEMA says its immediate supply of 1,500 mobile homes stored in Alabama was sent to Louisiana right after the flood. Additional homes are now being purchased from private dealers, often at costs exceeding $60,000 per home.
Flood survivors who receive the temporary homes must release them back to FEMA by February 2018. FEMA says many of those homes will then be refurbished to use in other disasters. However, the agency acknowledged no refurbished homes are currently in use among Louisiana flood victims and could not immediately provide specific examples of where any FEMA refurbished mobile homes are being used in other parts of the country.
Tito Hernandez, FEMA's federal coordinating officer, said the homes are a "last resort" and used only when nearby rental properties cannot be acquired. Hernandez says the agency is having trouble reaching many people who have applied for the homes and are still waiting for delivery. He encouraged anyone in that situation to call 1-800-621-3362 to schedule a delivery.
Various FEMA representatives also provided the following facts and figures during Wednesday's press briefing:
- FEMA has 30 crews assigned to blocking, leveling, and anchoring mobile homes.
- FEMA has 29 plumbing crews that install plumbing in the homes.
- FEMA has 29 electrical crews that run power from the homes to the electrical source.
- FEMA has 25 “make ready” crews that haul off trash, inspect homes, and make any needed minor repairs.
- FEMA has 30 carpentry crews that build and install steps to the homes and, if necessary, build and install wheelchairs ramps.