More than 7,000 residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche have registered for temporary housing which should start arriving as early as this week, according to parish authorities, the number is expected to increase.
Registration opened Monday for a state program offering caravans and other temporary accommodation in parishes hardest hit by Hurricane Ida. Residents whose homes have been destroyed or are unlivable can register at idashelteringla.com or by calling (844) 268-0301.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said the goal is to set up the first travel trailers in designated parishes during the week as teams begin to assess private group and location sites.
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Officials and residents of both parishes criticized FEMA for moving slowly to bring housing to the area, where Ida has left thousands of homes destroyed or unlivable. The Office of the Governor of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has since taken the helm of immediate housing as a stopgap until the arrival of FEMA trailers.
Residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche who have already registered for immediate housing through the two parishes do not have to re-register with the state, officials said Wednesday. Their information was passed on to the state program.
In Terrebonne, about 5,000 households have registered so far, said parish planning and zoning director Chris Pulaski.
The program will include base camps that include a common dining room and separate tents for toilets, showers and laundry rooms. Most of the accommodation will consist of modular type units such as mini-duplexes, accommodating up to eight people and having air conditioning and floors.
So far, he said, the parish plans to set up a base camp in each of these locations:
- Montegut for residents of Pointe-aux-Chênes and Montegut.
- Chauvin du Nord.
- Near the HLM Bayou Towers complex in Houma.
- The old site of Legion Park in Houma.
“The hope is that the people who stay there are locals in general,” Pulaski said.
“We have shelters in the parish, but they are not at full capacity. It’s not because you don’t have people who couldn’t use them. Definitely we do, ”Pulsaski said. “People live in cars, in tents, under tarpaulins, in what is left of their homes. But people are reluctant to leave their property. And that’s understandable. So let’s bring them shelter.
In Lafourche, parish president Archie Chiasson said his administration had requested 2,800 units and the number should increase. Over 2,100 people have already called to sign up for the immediate program.
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“We don’t know how many people have indicated they need shelter as part of the FEMA process because they don’t share their list with us,” Chiasson said.
“We are informed by the state that their units are expected to arrive sometime next week, hopefully,” Chaisson said on Wednesday. “We still don’t have a good FEMA lead time on their units yet.”
State Representative Tanner Magee R-Houma said the state program bridges the gap until FEMA trailers arrive, which could take weeks. Magee has expressed frustration at what appears to be a lack of a plan to send housing to the area and continues to push for faster action.
“It’s just about making sure it’s actually happening at a faster rate,” Magee said. “So it’s about staying above the two entities to make sure they’re doing what they’re about to do.”