FEMA and MEMA look for rental properties

Published 10:37 pm Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency are searching for housing resources throughout Mississippi to help Hurricane Katrina survivors living in FEMA temporary housing to find more suitable living accommodations.

At its peak, FEMA provided more than 49,000 travel trailers and mobile homes for Mississippians displaced by Katrina. Since then, about 15,500 households have located to other accommodations. As of Oct. 23, there were 33,307 temporary housing units (travel trailers and mobile homes) in service. These units currently are being returned to FEMA by an average of 250 units per week.

“If you have an empty apartment or home in one of the 49 disaster-declared counties, and you want to rent that property, please call us today,” said Nick Russo, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for Mississippi Recovery.

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“It is more than a year since Katrina struck and there are still more than 33,000 households living in travel trailers and mobile homes. Most of these would welcome the opportunity to rent larger quarters,” Russo added.

Anyone who has rental property that could be made available to disaster victims should call the FEMA Housing Resource Department at 1-228-594-3507 or 3508, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Providing this information does not assure the property will be rented, but expands the options available to those in need of housing.

Landlords calling to register their properties should be prepared to answer a few basic questions related to their rental unit, such as the type of dwelling and the number of bedrooms and baths. Also, information about whether the home is handicapped accessible, the pet policy, monthly rental amount and other items of interest to renters will be asked.

“We work one-on-one with each family to find the best housing option for the specific needs of that applicant,” said Mike Womack, interim director of MEMA. “Many Mississippians are ready now to make the move from their temporary housing units to a more permanent type of accommodation, and we want to help them in their effort.”

Persons interested in registering their rental property online may do so at www.msdisasterhousing.org.

FEMA provides temporary housing assistance when an applicant’s home is destroyed or damaged so badly it cannot be lived in, or when there is no insurance to meet the need for temporary housing. Renters also may be eligible for this type of assistance. Housing assistance can be in the form of rental assistance to pay for temporarily renting living space or the use of travel trailers or mobile homes.