Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is trying to marshal Baton Rouge leaders to oppose the federal decision to begin charging rent to families still living in government-owned manufactured housing units since the 2016 flood.
"I am grateful for the extension for residents to continue utilizing FEMA MHUs as they continue their recovery. ... But to charge rent to our citizens who are not in these MHUs by their own choice is unfathomable," Broome said in a Friday afternoon statement.
Mobile homes provided to flood victims can stay a little longer, though the Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to start charging ren…
"I want to be on record in conjunction with the state in opposing this decision to charge rent."
FEMA has extended their manufactured housing unit program through May 15 but intends to begin charging rent starting March 1. Rent would range from $789 per month for a one-bedroom unit to $1,155 for a three-bedroom unit.
Broome has introduced a Metro Council resolution calling on FEMA to continue waiving fees, out of consideration for residents who "are experiencing complications with accessing funds, contractor availability, supply of building materials, contractor fraud, limited affordable rental housing units and landlord leasing requirements."
Council members are scheduled to take up the resolution and decide whether to sign it at Wednesday's council meeting.
Councilman Buddy Amoroso, who co-authored the local ordinances allowing mobile homes to be placed on private property, said he wants to protect people in manufactured housing units. However, he also wants to protect neighborhoods and maintain zoning rules.
Temporary housing can't be allowed to become permanent housing, Amoroso said. Charging rent is intended to encourage families in emergency mobile homes to move back into typical residences.
The councilman said he wasn't going to second-guess FEMA, though nor did he want to disparage the mayor's effort. Amoroso said he would review the proposal and check in with Congressman Garret Graves's office before committing to vote one way or the other.
More than 500 Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile homes have been shuttled from Louisiana to Texas to house victims of Hurricane Harvey…