Port Arthur Mayor: FEMA housing for county, temporary housing coming for PA sheltered & evicted

In a post on his Facebook account just before 10 a.m. Mayor Derrick Freeman sad that with the help of Houston Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee that FEMA designated Jefferson County for "disaster housing assistance."

PORT ARTHUR - Temporary housing from FEMA will be provided for people displaced from their homes in Jefferson County.

County Judge Jeff Branick said about 15,000 homes in Jefferson county received major damage out of the county's 81,000 homes.

However, less than a quarter of county homeowners had flood insurance according to Branick.

Jefferson county officials got the word from FEMA at around 5 a.m. that the Federal agency would be providing disaster housing assistance.

Judge Branick said two Barges with apartments which hold about 300 residents each will be used for a temporary shelter. He believes the Barges will be located near the Port of Port Arthur. The barges would look something like this.


Several residents who stay at the Thomas Jefferson Middle school Red Cross Shelter said they are happy to hear they will have another place to stay. There are currently about 200 people inside the shelter who are displaced from their homes. 

“Yeah that would be ideal yea that would be wonderful I know a lot of people who would really love that I know I love it I’m ready for that,” said Port Arthur evacuee Terri Pattio.

She was rescued from her home off 17th street when flood waters started to rise. She said her house suffered from major damages and she lost almost everything.

“Water was coming in and we had to get a boat and boat us out of there,” said Pattio.

The mayor of Port Arthur announced via social media Tuesday that the city has temporary housing on the way for displaced apartment dwellers and that FEMA will be making disaster housing assistance available for Jefferson County.

In a post on his Facebook account just before 10 a.m. Mayor Derrick Freeman said that with the help of Houston Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee that FEMA designated Jefferson County for "disaster housing assistance."

The mayor noted in the post that the city does not have the capacity to shelter thousands in the city but that he wants to keep residents close to their homes and property.

He said that the confirmation from FEMA came at 5 a.m. Tuesday and will pave the way for county residents to live in manufactured homes and trailers.

However, Judge Branick said the details with the trailers are still getting worked out. He also said the county is not sure what time the Barges will be arriving.

Freeman also said that residents still in shelters in the city as well as evicted apartment dwellers would soon have housing available on two barges being brought in that will house 600 with meals, laundry and "other amenities."

Freeman also announced that city has an emergency contractor with 10 "double trucks" in place and another 15 on arriving by the weekend to pick up debris.

He said that he felt they needed more help and that the contractor has agreed to hire Port Arthur businesses with the equipment and insurance to help.

He encouraged interested business owners to contact via his Facebook inbox for more information.

FEMA's National Flood Insurance Plan, NFIP, has also agreed to offer a 120 day grace period and backdate missed payments.

He said coverage would be allowed on policies that were set to renew July 24 through Sept. 27, 2017 if residents make their missed payment.

Freeman also praised the council and city staff as well as all city workers, many of whom have also suffered losses in the storm.

"When you see a city worker please give them a pat on the back or a thank you. Because they've really stepped up in spite of their own devastation," he wrote.

Residents who are staying at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School red cross center will have to find another place to stay before Aug. 18 when school starts. 

Jefferson county FEMA representative Ken Higginbotham said state and local officials are working together to finalize long term housing for residents.

12news tried to reach out to Mayor Derrick Freeman about his Facebook post but he did not return our calls. 

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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