Two FEMA-administered programs are seeking to provide temporary housing for residents impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
Under the Multifamily Lease and Repair Program, FEMA can enter into a temporary contract with the owner of an eligible existing multifamily rental property. FEMA will repair the damaged property and then lease out the vacant units for the length of the contract, generally about 18 months. Once the contract ends, the units will be rented out directly by the property owner.
Gerard Hammink, FEMA media relations specialist, said FEMA has found roughly 40 potential apartment units in Calcasieu Parish that can potentially take part in the program.
“The idea with apartments is we’re trying to help a lot of people,” he said. “A lot of housing was lost, so it makes sense to pursue different avenues of getting people housed.”
FEMA’s Direct Lease Program allows the agency to lease existing “ready-to-occupy” residential property from qualified management companies, including corporate apartments. Under the lease agreement between FEMA and the property owner/management company, rent will be based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Market Rent. The lease agreement will be for 18 months, with an option to extend.
Hammink said FEMA officials are speaking to “half a dozen property managers” about taking part in the Direct Lease Program.
The deadline to sign up for both programs is Dec. 28. FEMA is reaching out to property management companies in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Grant, Jeff Davis, Rapides and Vernon parishes.
Hammink said FEMA doesn’t typically roll out these programs. The lack of available rental housing, especially in Calcasieu Parish, required programs like these to address a severe temporary housing shortage.
Repairing rental properties provides more housing options long after hurricane recovery wraps up, Hammink said.
“That would benefit property owners and the whole community because you have better housing going forward,” he said. “That is not something that happens with the temporary solution of travel trailers and manufactured homes.”
As of Monday, 267 households in the parishes affected by Laura and Delta have received keys to travel trailers or manufactured homes, Hammink said. Matching travel trailers and mobile homes to residents that need them can be a lengthy process because utilities, such as water, sewer and electricity, must be set up to allow someone to live there for several months.
“It’s longer than just an overnight stay or a camping trip,” Hammink said.
Hammink said more than 3,500 households impacted by the hurricanes have already found their own housing solutions. FEMA has not been able to reach roughly 1,100 households.
He said more than 1,500 site surveys have been conducted on private property and existing commercial RV and mobile home parks. Nearly 800 work orders have been issued to haul and install FEMA trailers on private property and commercial RV/mobile home parks.
To register property online for the programs, visit the System for Award Management at beta.sam.gov.
More information on the FEMA programs can be found online at fema.gov/fact-sheet/multifamily-lease-and-repair-program and fema.gov/fact-sheet/fema-seeks-participants-direct-lease-housing-program.