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FEMA Adds Counties for Temporary Housing

Temporary housing is now available for survivors displaced by Hurricane Florence in Bladen, Lenoir and Pamlico counties. Photo: FEMA

RALEIGH – The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday that at the state’s request it will provide temporary housing units to households displaced by Hurricane Florence in three additional counties: Bladen, Lenoir and Pamlico.

FEMA said it is already providing Direct Temporary Housing Assistance in 10 counties: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson. The agency offers two forms of direct housing assistance: travel trailers as an interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs to their home can be completed in less than a year and manufactured housing units that provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete due to greater degree of damage.

Direct housing is temporary, FEMA said. These units are not permanent dwellings. They are provided only when rental resources are not available in an affected area.

The units are part of a comprehensive set of temporary housing programs for people displaced by the disaster, allowing survivors to remain close to their jobs and communities as they rebuild.

Survivors who are displaced from their home because of Hurricane Florence must first apply for federal disaster assistance to be considered for FEMA programs such as rental assistance, grants for repairs to make their homes safe, sanitary and functional, and other forms of assistance.

Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, by using the FEMA app, by visiting a disaster recovery center, or by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585. In-person American Sign Language  interpreters are available by calling or texting 202-655-8824. Go online to watch a video on how to request an American Sign Language interpreter.

The state and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding local ordinances, permitting, zoning, transportation requirements, setbacks, utility connections and inspections. When installation is complete and the unit passes an occupancy inspection, it is ready for use. At that point, the applicant will sign a license-in agreement to occupy the unit.

After survivors register for federal disaster assistance, FEMA contacts households that may qualify for a travel trailer or manufactured housing units to conduct a pre-placement interview to determine whether the applicant needs direct housing and, if so, what type of housing. This determination is based on the size and needs of the household, including any people with disabilities or other access or functional needs.

For eligible applicants, FEMA may be able to place a unit on their property. FEMA must ensure the site is compliant with applicable building codes, environmental laws and floodplain regulations. If that is not possible, FEMA may lease pads in commercial parks.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.