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Post Ida housing program shifts, state tries to speed up process

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 6:39 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With thousands of people still needing temporary housing, the state is wrapping up its portion of a program to provide thousands of trailers to victims of hurricane Ida. The state stepped in to try and speed up the process, but many say it’s not moving fast enough.

73-year-old Chris Zito says he’s been living a nightmare since Hurricane Ida brought the worst damage his Kenner home has seen in more than 50 years.

A temporary beam has been built down the middle of his house to keep it from collapsing, Zito fears mold and his quest for temporary housing has yielded nothing.

“Somebody ought to come down on somebody. We are not animals here,” said Zito.

Zito is especially frustrated since dozens of unused trailers are parked just a few miles upriver in Hahnville.

State lawmakers questioned the governor’s office of homeland security Friday about what many say is the slow pace of the program.

“We are frustrated it’s taking that long but it’s not because of the lack of effort,” said Casey Tingle with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.

The trailers in Hahnville are part of more than 2000 bought by the state to try and speed up the process. Of over 1,000 deployed, 653 are now occupied.

Chris Zito doesn’t want to stay in his house because of structural and mold issues so he’s been staying with a friend in Houma with problems too.

Parish leaders say they are frustrated.

“None of us can understand, there’s so much bureaucracy involved,” said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng.

FEMA says if you have not applied for temporary housing yet you should do so now. And if you don’t qualify for a trailer they say hotel vouchers are still being offered.

Many people say hotel vouchers far from their damaged homes are not a good option, because it inhibits their ability to work on those homes. Again the clock is ticking for those who may need help. The deadline to apply for FEMA disaster assistance is November 29, just 10 days away. If you need assistance, contact FEMA at 800-621-3362, or go to disaster assistance.gov.

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