As FEMA trailers roll in, Harvey victims still in search for long-term recovery solutions

Crews contracted by FEMA install trailers at an RV park in La Grange damaged by flooding during Harvey. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).
Crews contracted by FEMA install trailers at an RV park in La Grange damaged by flooding during Harvey. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).

LA GRANGE, Texas (KXAN) — The Country Way Village mobile home park, one of three mobile home parks just north of the Colorado River which became unlivable in the Harvey flooding this August, is now getting filled with temporary homes provided by the Federal Emergency Management Association.

FEMA hopes these trailers offer a temporary place for those hardest hit to gain stability. As of Tuesday, 66 people in Fayette County are receiving temporary housing assistance from FEMA. For some of the displaced families, the past three months have been spent in hotels, which can be hectic.

The agency identified 53 families who will receive mobile housing in Fayette County.

“We’re trying to get people with more permanent housing as rapidly as we can,” FEMA spokesperson Bob Howard.

The mayor of La Grange told KXAN that Harvey damaged 174 mobile homes and 74 permanent homes, many of them destroyed. She added that La Grange is still in the beginning phases of reconstruction

“We did have to get a lot of that done before FEMA had a place to put those families ’cause we don’t want to just put them in a bad situation from a bad situation,” explained Kenneth Couch, executive director of the La Grange Area Long Term Recovery Team.

The process of getting people into the temporary housing has not been easy though

“The majority of people I’ve talked to do want, even if it’s not a permanent traditional home, they want a home out of the floodplain, that’s for sure,” Couch said.

Joey Melton who coordinates volunteers and construction for the recovery team said the number of volunteers they’ve seen has dwindled since the flood waters rose.

“There is still a huge need for work out here. This is not going to go away anytime soon,” said Melton. “If we get enough volunteers, this thing could be done in a few months. From the way things are looking, it will be a couple of years before we’re done here.”

Melton added they are looking for groups of skilled volunteers (plumbers, people with construction experience) and people who can make a commitment to continuing to volunteer over the long term.

People who want to help out with the long-term recovery process can email Volunteercityoflg@gmail.com. They also welcome donations during this recovery process.

“We’ve got a dollar amount that we said we’d spend per home, but we don’t even have the funds right now to cover those dollars that we said we’d spend on the homes,” Melton said.

He believes it will help for volunteers promote fundraising efforts and to build relationships with the families as they recover. Melton said that having volunteers who the flood victims trust will make the recovery process easier.

 

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