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USA: 400 Texas hurricane Ike families in manufactured homes

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AUSTIN, Texas -- More than 400 families, affected by Hurricane Ike, are settling into their manufactured housing either on their own property or in an established commercial mobile home park. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is implementing this form of direct housing in response to a request from the state and is working with both the state and local communities to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Used only under the most severe circumstances, direct housing-the use of mobile homes and park model housing units-becomes an option when alternate sources such as hotels and apartments are not available for temporary housing. They are also a practical and convenient temporary housing solution for homeowners, who have the space to put these units on their private property, as they begin repairing or rebuilding their damaged homes.

Thus far, 408 applicants have signed occupancy agreements for units in Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson and Orange counties. Of these, 385 are on private property and 23 are in commercial mobile home parks.

Another 427 manufactured housing units are in the installation process for both private and commercial sites.

"Manufactured housing is another avenue used to augment housing choices when rental units are scarce," said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman who heads up the federal recovery for Texas. "We are pleased that displaced Texans have moved into more than 400 units, and we continue to work quickly and diligently to ready additional units."

In an effort to find solutions to speed up the process of installing manufactured homes, FEMA is asking local officials to sign waivers that would allow the temporary placement of manufactured housing in floodplains; and in some cases, FEMA is working with local communities to relax electrical permitting requirements.

FEMA and Entergy have also partnered to look for ways to trim the amount of time it takes to make mobile homes ready for occupancy. Entergy has added more manpower from the power crews to those who process work orders to help speed the process of installing power to manufactured units.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.