FEMA Requests Initial Order of 4,500 Manufactured Homes for Harvey Victims

On Friday, CBS News reported the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has asked prefabricated housing manufacturers to produce at least 4,500 homes for families affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The request is substantial and is expected to be the first of a wave of requests. Within the last 18 months alone, the manufactured housing industry provided FEMA with 4,238 homes according to Patti Boerger, spokesperson for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). However, this recent request is just for Harvey victims.

Housing for Harvey Victims

The agency said in a statement that the manufactured homes are “part of a variety of housing options to ensure disaster survivors with housing needs receive assistance to help their recovery.” They added, “This is a long duration storm, the recovery will be challenging, take time, and the help of the whole community is required.”

“We are prepared to help in any way we can,” said Joe Stegmayer, CEO of Cavco Industries, which is the second largest consortium of factory home builders.

There are 21 factories that build manufactured homes in Texas, according to the Texas Manufactured Housing Association. This may cut down on the delivery time it will take to get the homes to people who need them in Houston and surrounding areas.

Once a home starts on the production line, the home could be completed in 7 days but manufacturers caution that a backlog of requests already in the pipeline could slow down the homes destined for Harvey victims.

FEMA Housing Units

Manufactured Home producers are still awaiting exact specifications from FEMA and won’t know until the middle of the week at the earliest according to one company executive who did not want to be identified.

FEMA says the agency has just 1,700 homes in its inventory. Former FEMA chief, Craig Fugate, told CBS News that the homes cost about $100,000 each which includes the home price, installation, maintenance and removal.

Disaster veterans caution a temporary manufactured home is not a cure all. “This is not easy, it’s not just a matter of pulling up and parking a manufactured home unit,” said Richard Serino, former Deputy Administrator at Fema. He said if houses are going to be set up in new neighborhoods, “You want to make it somewhat appealing, with parks where kids can go out and play.”

Manufactured homes can be placed in a staging area or set up on the property of the Harvey victim’s damaged home.

One drawback to the newer FEMA manufactured homes is that they are larger and less likely to fit into a front or backyard as the original home is being rebuilt or repaired.

Here are some helpful FEMA links for those seeking more information regarding FEMA’s available resources.

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