Federal Emergency Management Agency teams in the coming weeks will start the arduous task of developing a plan for where the thousands of people across south Louisiana who have lost their homes to flooding will live.
As with most natural disasters, some flood evacuees will inevitably find their own accommodations, living with family or friends. Some will move into apartments and other rentals. And those with relatively minor damage will have their homes quickly repaired and will return to them.
It hasn't yet been decided, but another option that FEMA will weigh as it assists with recovery is placing people in manufactured housing units.
Remember the infamous FEMA trailer from Hurricane Katrina? The white-paneled, cramped travel trailers that thousands were placed in following the 2005 storm? The trailers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eventually determined had contained potentially hazardous levels of formaldehyde?
FEMA leaders say any temporary housing units placed here in the wake of the flood that has led to disaster declarations for 20 parishes won't be anything like that.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards walked across the Celtic Studios lot on Monday, shaking hand…
"This is not the FEMA travel trailers," FEMA head Craig Fugate said on Tuesday. "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."
Earlier this year, the federal government unveiled what it called the "new and improved" FEMA trailer, which is a bit roomier and includes fire sprinklers in all units.
Fugate, who traveled to Louisiana this week to assess the flood damage, said other updates have been made to make sure that the trailers comply with housing standards outlined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"These are HUD-approved, they all meet HUD standards and in many cases exceed them," he said.
As many as 114,000 households were placed in FEMA travel trailers as Katrina evacuees transitioned from shelters to temporary housing units.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said it's too early to know what temporary housing may look like in the wake of the flooding disaster in Louisiana, as rescue efforts are ongoing and officials have yet to determine just how many people have been affected.
Twenty parishes are now covered under a federal disaster declaration in response to severe f…
The floods have left thousands of homes underwater. At least 8,000 people stayed in shelters across the state Monday night, and already 40,000 people have applied for federal disaster assistance.
"We have to take into consideration this particular group of storm victims and what their needs are going to be," Edwards said of a housing solution beyond shelters spread across the affected area.
One of FEMA's goals moving forward will be getting people into temporary housing. No plan has been developed so it's unclear what that may include.
In the coming weeks, FEMA will send teams into shelters and communities to identify the needs of the flood victims so that a long-term plan can be implemented.
"All options are on the table," Fugate said.
He said that FEMA's approach is to view the best scenario is quick improvements to get people back into their homes. Second best: get people into rentals.
"The fastest response in many cases will be making emergency repairs on homes to get them back in them, in other cases it will be getting them into a rental," Fugate said. "In some areas that will make sense and in some areas it won't."
For the rest, temporary housing trailers may be the next best option.
"We have much-improved models," Fugate said. "These are HUD-approved, they all meet HUD standards and in many cases exceed them."