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FEMA Sending 40 Prefab Homes, Locations Still to Be Determined

By Nigel Chiwaya | November 9, 2012 3:26pm

NEW YORK CITY — FEMA is sending manufactured homes into the areas of New York and New Jersey that were hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, the agency announced Thursday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the agency has 40 prefabricated homes that being shipped from Maryland to a staging area in New Jersey. Officials in New Jersey and New York will then decide where the homes are distributed.

Joe Borelli, Chief of Staff for city councilman Vincent Ignizio, said that the councilman's office had not yet recieved any word on when the homes would arrive.

"We had a big meeting with FEMA yesterday," Borelli said. "That never came up."

FEMA, which angered storm victims by closing disaster centers in advance of Wednesday's nor'easter, has several hundred of the homes in its inventory, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said. However, Fugate said that he was unsure if FEMA would have to order more homes, saying that officials were still not sure "what total demand would be."

The homes that are being sent to the area have been approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and are not like the ones used after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, which contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde, the Wall Street Journal reported.

More than 317,000 people have registered with FEMA since Sandy struck the northeast last week, and the agency has approved over $3 million in emergency aid.

In addition, FEMA has determined that more than 101,000 people in New York and New Jersey are eligible for temporary housing at area hotels, but the agency is not sure how many people are making use of the option.

And some 56,000 people have also been ruled eligible for the agency's individual and households program, which provides money home repairs or for renting a new home. Fugate said that some storm victims have moved to hotels as far north as Albany.

New York officials are not currently sure how many people have been left homeless in Sandy's wake. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week that the worst-case estimate is 40,000 people. Bloomberg added that city officials were going door-to-door in storm-ravaged areas to determine the city's housing needs.