BATON ROUGE, La., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Authorities will attempt to relieve a housing crunch in Louisiana caused by flooding with mobile homes, saying the homes are much better than the notorious FEMA trailers used after Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday unveiled the manufactured housing units that will be delivered to people whose homes were severely flooded after last week's disaster. More than 2,000 people in Louisiana are in shelters. At least 120,000 homeowners have applied for disaster assistance from the federal government. Thousands have been displaced.
"These are not the same as FEMA trailers that have been used in the past ... They are more like mobile homes than pull-behinds," Edwards said. "Hopefully they will hold up better and offer a safer place for people to live."
It was not disclosed when the first of the one- to three-bedroom mobile homes would arrive, how many would be delivered and how many people need them.
"These are manufactured homes built according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards and FEMA contract requirements," the Louisiana government said in a statement. "These mobile homes can be made available to certain qualified applicants in certain locations, as allowed by FEMA requirements and parish or local zoning."
Eligible applicants must meet certain criteria, including being a property owner with damages over $17,000 or more or renters whose rental home was destroyed.
FEMA head Craig Fugate last week said new temporary housing units are not like the FEMA trailers -- white-paneled, cramped travel trailers that were later deemed hazardous to inhabitants' health for reasons including toxic levels of formaldehyde.
"This is not the FEMA travel trailers," Fugate said last week. "If we need to bring in any kind of temporary housing units, they are better than they've ever been. They are all HUD approved."