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Residents In Temporary Disaster Housing Must Agree To Rules


January 23, 2006, JACKSON , Miss. -- More than 85,000 Mississippi residents and survivors of Hurricane Katrina occupy emergency disaster housing throughout the state. People are living in temporary housing placed in commercial properties, state parks, or on private land, yet no matter where Mississippi residents or evacuees are located, many of the housing rules remain the same.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) has a standardized process for those entering the housing program. A key part of the process for residents is agreeing to rules of occupancy.

When Mississippi residents or evacuees have travel trailers or mobile homes placed in state parks or commercial trailer parks, they must obey both FEMA rules and the established rules of the campground trailer park. Mississippi residents should be aware of the rules which govern their specific commercial park. Some parks may have additional guidelines regarding lot maintenance, garbage disposal and pet ownership.

For example, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) has helped by providing space throughout the state to accommodate many emergency housing units. Park rules established by the MDWFP are the same throughout Mississippi , but each park may have additional area-appropriate regulations. Mississippi state park rangers are certified law enforcement officers and are sworn to strictly enforce park rules and state laws.

FEMA requires residents to sign an agreement complying with the rules of living in a FEMA-provided emergency housing unit. The agreement says residents must keep the unit and surrounding area clean; they must obey the laws and not commit crimes while living in the units. Mississippi residents who receive emergency housing units should continue to search for a permanent housing option and when a solution is located, they must let FEMA know they will be moving. Occupants must also respect the rights and privacy of their neighbors in the temporary housing area.

The FEMA agreement also contains a section listing all family members who live in the unit. It is important that all members be listed in case of an emergency. Only family members who lived in the home before the disaster, and who meet FEMA eligibility requirements, are allowed to live in the units.

All tenants in FEMA emergency housing units are given copies of all rules and regulations, and the rules are being posted throughout the parks. If anyone in a FEMA-provided unit violates the rules, the entire household may be subject to the consequences.

The rules governing the FEMA emergency housing units are neither new, nor are they negotiable.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.


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