FEMA admits roadblocks could delay goal to deliver all MHUs by the end of January

(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - FEMA hopes to deliver all remaining mobile housing units (MHUs) to flood-affected families by the end of the month, but admits some roadblocks can delay those plans.

Displaced from his home is not the way Derrick Collins said he wanted to start 2017.

"I was hoping for to be in it by the first of the year and, as of right now, I'm losing faith in it," Collins said.

He and his family of eight have been living in his son's two-bedroom apartment since the flood. His wife is still in the hospital after giving birth to their seventh child, but he fears the new baby will soon join them in the already cramped situation.

"It's hard for me to even just talking about it because it hurts. As a father and as a man, I don't have the answers and it bothers me because I'm the provider for my family," Collins explained.

You can still see the tire tracks where he said FEMA tried to deliver a mobile housing unit to their back yard in early December. However, Collins said for some reason, that didn't work out and a month later, he is still trying to figure out why.

"I'm still unsure what was wrong because they left and it took about two or three weeks just to get in contact with them just to find out what happened," Collins added.

FEMA has installed 2,989 MHUs so far with 2,686 of them on private property and 212 on commercial sites. The agency plans to install all remaining MHUs by January 31. The original goal was to deliver 4,000 units to south Louisiana. So far, FEMA has installed 2,686 and still plans to deliver another 1,102 in the next four weeks.

Federal Coordinating Officer Chuck Maskell said the agency is working around the clock to meet the goal, but admitted there are some roadblocks that could put the brakes on those plans.

"In an operation that's as complicated as this, you're always going to have challenges," Maskell said.

He said miscommunication between FEMA and contractors can cause issues, but another big roadblock is bad weather.

"That ends up being the limiting factor more than anything else on the hours that we can do it," Maskell explained.

While Maskell said FEMA remains committed to resolving all MHU problems, for the sake of his family, Collins hopes the answer comes sooner rather than later.

"Something has to be done better. It's got to be done better than this," Collins said.

FEMA continues to ask for patience and said workers are doing everything they can to get to everyone.

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