FEMA Seeks to Avoid Illness Issue with Sandy Housing

Monday, 17 Dec 2012 11:51 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Manufactured homes and not travel trailers will be used to help house News Jersey residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy, according to federal officials who want to avoid a repeat of the situation after Hurricane Katrina when residents got sick from being housed in temporary trailers.
According to the Bergen Country Record, 50 of the homes have put in parking lots at Six Flags Great Adventure park in Jackson Township until officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can find mobile home parks or other suitable places near the hardest hit areas to place them.
They hope to begin moving them out of Six Flags this week, the newspaper reported, and make more available as needed.
According to the Record, the homes are fairly large double-wide-like structures that will be fixed to the ground and made available to displaced families for up to 18 months. Most of the units used in Katrina were new travel homes, or large recreational vehicles on wheels, and people reportedly got sick from breathing in fumes from materials used to construct them.
Many residents affected by Sandy are still living in hotels, apartments, and other rentals throughout the state. But the number of units available are not sufficient "to meet the anticipated need," according to Gov. Chris Christie's office.
“Among our top priorities is to ensure that everyone who has been displaced by Hurricane Sandy can find temporary housing that meets their needs in one available form or another so they can begin to recover from this major disaster,” Christie said last week.
In an effort to ensure that everyone displaced by the storm who needs help gets it, Christie's office also announced plans to covert officer quarters at the deserted Fort Monmouth Army base, which was closed last year, into 45 apartments. Steps are also underway by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority to add another 375 permanent housing units, the Record reported Monday.
In addition, Christie has asked FEMA to extend the assistance program for residents now staying hotels at least through January.

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