Family still waiting for MHU months after being approved

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Numerous people across south Louisiana are waiting on a FEMA mobile housing unit, or MHU. Frank and Linda Matthews are also on that waiting list.

"For my child to have to sleep on the floor, that's the problem, because he's sick and I have to run with him every week or every other week to the doctor," said Linda Matthews.

Matthews said she has exhausted all means of trying to get some answers from FEMA. The Matthews' home of 16 years in Centurion Place neighborhood off O'Neal Ln. flooded in August. They have since been living with family in Gonzales. Her son is fighting sickle cell anemia.

She said they applied with FEMA at the end of August. On October 6, they were approved for a unit, but two and a half months later, there is still no housing unit.

"They're not telling me anything, you know. They're not telling me anything. When I see all these trailers around me, at my neighbors, why don't I have one," asked Matthews.

The family said there are flags down in their backyard marking off where the unit would fit. On October 6, the family set up a separate electricity account for that FEMA unit, but to this day, they still cannot get answers as to why they have been waiting so long.

She said it's not the wait that is frustrating, it's not being able to get in touch with FEMA to get any real answers as to why the delays are occurring. She called FEMA in front of WAFB reporter, Kiran Chawla. With one number, she continually got a busy signal. Another number rang and eventually disconnected on its own.

WAFB called FEMA and they said they could not discuss their specific case because of privacy rules. The Matthews said they've been told numerous things by FEMA.

"The work order was supposedly on the supervisor's desk to a contractor, but the contractor had not approved it," said Matthews. "They no longer had the two bedroom trailers available and they had to go buy some more, request some more."

She said they could not make Thanksgiving dinner in their own home. Now, all she wants is to be on her own lot for Christmas.

FEMA said on average, it takes 30 to 90 days after you're approved to get a unit on your property. Since WAFB's interview, FEMA said they will be getting in touch with the Matthews and that they were out of specific sizes and more units have just arrived. Due to privacy rules, they could not say if that meant the Matthews would soon be getting a MHU or not.

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