Manufactured Homes Again Utilized By FEMA In Aftermath of 2011 North Dakota Flood Disaster
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has effectively used manufactured homes for temporary housing in several natural disasters over the last several years, including Hurricane Katrina and the recent Colorado flood disaster.
FEMA’s temporary housing mission in the North Dakota Souris Valley flood of 2011 will close within the next few days, after 27 months of post-flood assistance.The utilization of the manufactured home proved to be an important element in the completion of this successful relief undertaking.
The total cost of the housing mission has yet to be calculated, but in the aftermath of of the Souris River flooding, FEMA brought in 2052 manufactured homes to address the severe housing shortage in the region and provide shelter for 1960 households. (All households have since moved into permanent housing.)
“It’s a big success for us.” said Dan Alexander, federal disaster recovery coordinator for the region. “There’s quite a few best practices coming out of this that we are going to be capturing and trying to to advance in future housing missions.”
After the flood, FEMA had established three groups of manufactured housing complexes, providing 800 housing units. Those sites were: De Sour Valley Heights on the outskirts of Burlington, Recovery Village northeast of Minot, and Virgil Workman Village on the east of Minot. Virgil Workman Village was the first to open, on October 3, 2011. In addition, FEMA used 5 manufactured housing parks and placed more than 1118 manufactured housing units on private property.
All families needing housing were placed into manufactured home units by Christmas 2011, which FEMA notes was an accomplishment considering the shortage of available contractors and the inhospitable North Dakota weather.
FEMA housing staff assisted residents in finding available rental housing and coordinated a sales program that resulted in 266 manufactured homes being sold to residents for permanent housing. The owner of property hosting, Virgil Workman Village, converted a portion of the area into a mobile home park called Wheatland Village.
Several manufactured homes that were brought in but never used remain in FEMA’s inventory. Decommissioned units have been donated to other agencies or become part of federal surplus property through the General Services Administration. Many of the manufactured homes went to tribes in North Dakota and neighboring states.
As a long time member of the manufactured home industry, I am well aware that our homes are designed to serve a variety of needs. Today’s manufactured homes are quality built to conform to government regulations that assure safety and convenience and can be produced quickly and efficiently to meet the needs of any homeowner.
It would appear that FEMA has utilized one of those needs by recognizing the importance of manufactured homes and their ability to assist and help those who have experienced hardships as a result of natural disasters. This temporary, and sometimes permanent housing allows families to get their lives back and offers them a second chance.