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Six weeks after Hurricane Ida, Louisiana kicks off million-dollar housing project in bayou region | State Politics – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-10-09 19:45:00 –

Chauvin – Leroy Picou spends most of his time sitting on the pouch, listening to Swamp Pop next to the pouch, watching utility trucks and debris contractors come and go, and avoid mold and mold-prone homes. I am.

The devastating road of the extratropical cyclone Ida ran wildly through this close Bayeux community near the coast, but, like many other survivors living here six weeks after the storm, evacuated to Pikou. There are few options to find a place.

The nearest vacant hotel is hours away, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency does not plan to deliver most of the mobile homes until spring. The Houma Terbonne Civic Center, 30 miles away, has a cot space, but it’s too far for many.

Some are sleeping in temporary tents next to cars and piles of rubble, while others, including 59-year-old Piko, stick it into the wreckage of a storm-ravaged house and inhale the toxic clouds of mold. I’m out. Mold.

Louisiana wants to change that, and is spending millions of dollars on experiments that allow the government to reinvent how it responds to natural disasters.

Just a short walk from Pikou’s house, directly across from Bayeux, a enthusiastic crew of state contractors can work 24 hours a day on Fridays in the park pavilion, catering and laundry, bathrooms and showers, and sleeping up to 100 people. 12 air-conditioned tents that can be.

Tessie Griffin from Boule, Terrebonne Parish, set up a tent on the road at Point-Aux-Chinee after Hurricane Aida destroyed him …

This is the first of several base camps the state plans to set up in the coming weeks in the community most hit by Aida, located along a finger-like waterway that stretches into the Gulf of Mexico. Each location looks different, but the goal is the same: providing survivors with a safe place to eat, sleep and take a shower near their home.

Normally, after a natural disaster, FEMA provides survivors with money for hotel rooms and temporary housing, but Ida was so devastating that the nearest hotel available to storm victims in Picayune, Mississippi. Is 2 hours away. In addition, there are few rental properties, and damaged apartments are driving out residents.

As of Friday, only 1,101 of the 8,352 households in Terbonne eligible for hotel stays were checked in to the room. Of the 5,466 households in Laforche, only 507 lived in the hotel.

“From our point of view, the most effective recovery is the one that occurs closest to your home,” said Casey Tingle, Deputy Director of the Department of Homeland Security and the Emergency Response Department. “If the households are three hours apart, you are limiting their ability to contribute to their own recovery.”

In the coming weeks, Louisiana will begin distributing its own travel trailers and RVs with financial support from FEMA. The state has already purchased 400 units for a price of $ 14 million. An additional $ 9 million has been secured to hire the company APTIM as a program manager.

State-led efforts are aimed at bridging the gap before FEMA is ready to launch mobile homes. FEMA units will not begin arriving until mid-November, but only after clearing many bureaucratic hurdles, such as not being in a flood zone. If last year’s recovery at Lake Charles was any sign, it could be March or April before most survivors were put into federal property.

According to Tingle, Louisiana wants to incorporate its inventory of travel trailers into FEMA’s efforts, and authorities will decide how to seamlessly deliver units without disturbing the living environment of survivors. We are working behind the scenes.

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Overlapping efforts are the first time Louisiana or another state has been involved in providing housing directly after a storm, and if successful, the program will move survivors elsewhere after a natural disaster. May provide a roadmap for containment.

But even more than a month after Ida’s destruction, there are still complaints about how long it took the program to run. For a federal agency like FEMA, six weeks is fast, but if you live without an overhead roof, “it’s close to the pace of a turtle,” said R-Houma speaker Pro Tem Tanner Magee. increase.

The state estimates that 12,750 homes, including 10,000 in the Parish of Terrebonne, were destroyed by Hurricane Ida.

“Looking around and seeing people sleeping under FEMA tarpaulins, it really hurts,” said Christopher Plasky, head of planning and zoning for the Terrebonne parish. .. “I would have wanted to see this sooner. This kind of thing, this should be ready.”

Congressman Houma Tanner Maggie has survived many hurricanes in his life, but Hurricane Aida says he was the most devastating and leveled Telebonne …

Tired of weeks of inaction, Maggie helped the nonprofit Hatch Grant Association raise more than $ 20,000 to rent a travel shower and laundry unit.

“Is the National Guard, FEMA, or GOHSEP signed or available for this contract,” Maggie said.

Further down Bayeux, Cindy and Gary Pikou finished the morning ritual by sieving a pile of rubble, which was a double-wide trailer. The discreet pool house on the back of the property survived the storm “because I built it”, but not much else.

Since the storm, couples have relied on friends and family for a place to sleep, but most of their time goes back to their property looking for something to save, such as the linoleum floor they made in a temporary sink. I’m spending time.

She doesn’t like clashing with others, but Cindy said it was “too scary” to go to a base camp on the road. “Now the world is crazy,” she said. She doesn’t want to share her tent with strangers.

It is unclear how successful the base camp will be. The site was officially released on Friday night, but no one appeared, Plaskey said.

Sitting on the porch just a stone’s throw from the base camp, Leroy Pikou said he was still in place. He’s starting to run out of cash to buy fuel for his generator, but he doesn’t want to give up his property, even if it’s just a short walk away.

“I’m going to stay here,” Pikou said. “I was born and raised here.”

Six weeks after Hurricane Ida, Louisiana kicks off million-dollar housing project in bayou region | State Politics Source link Six weeks after Hurricane Ida, Louisiana kicks off million-dollar housing project in bayou region | State Politics

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