Officials meet to resolve temporary housing issues
Brady meets with FEMA, Entergy to move process forward
Following an Oct. 25 meeting between U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and officials from FEMA and Entergy-Texas to discuss temporary housing solutions in Southeast Texas after Hurricane Ike, Brady met with several residents who expressed frustrations about delays and FEMA’s application process.
Allen Dunn of Bridge City, a 50-year old boilermaker, talked with Brady about a FEMA denial letter he received. Dunn lives on Cow Bayou and had repaired his home after Hurricane Rita damage in 2005.
He applied for a Small Business Administration loan to build a new home, which was approved but never received. Then last spring, the home where he was living was destroyed by fire.
He was trying to repair a building on the property to live in, and had constructed a small apartment from a building as a temporary home. The building was flooded by more than three feet of water during Hurricane Ike, ruining the work he had done. He applied for FEMA assistance and tried to make the building once again liveable.
He was visited by a FEMA inspector and later denied any assistance on the grounds that he already had a place to live.
“Orange County needs housing,” Brady said. “We have to cut through the red tape to ensure that folks have a place to live and can begin to rebuild their lives. My goal is to find ways to reduce the timeframe it takes to get units on the ground.”
Earlier, Brady led FEMA officials to a mobile home installation site in Bridge City so that Entergy could demonstrate how quickly they can provide a temporary housing unit with power once the red tape is cleared.
Albie Lewis, FEMA’s deputy federal coordinating officer for the state of Texas, took part in the meeting and said the process of installing mobile homes can be delayed by issues such as restrictions on development in flood-prone areas, local zoning ordinances, site inspection and preparation for the FEMA mobile home; and finally the installation time required.
Brady has been working with FEMA and local jurisdictions to remove these impediments, as well as coordinating with Entergy which provides electricity to many area residents.
“Entergy has really come through on everything being asked of them. They have been able to come up with some additional changes that should make the process any faster,” said Brady.
FEMA has said the pace of mobile home installation was in part the responsibility of power companies who were slow to connect the housing units to electricity.