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Deadline looms in race to get people out of FEMA housing - KOAM TV 7

Deadline looms in race to get people out of FEMA housing

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County officials in Missouri meet with Economic Security workers to discuss ways to make sure people receiving FEMA assistance will soon be able to survive on their own.

The FEMA deadline for everyone to move out of the mobile homes still stands.

Slowly but surely the number of FEMA mobile homes has decreased, but there are still several receiving government assistance.

As for the time between now and the November deadline, county officials say there are many obstacles some have to overcome.

Jimmy Williamson is a resident in FEMA's temporary housing unit and uses a bike, and only a bike, but many potential employers want more.

"They look at it, like, due to elements of weather, and the far travel, it may not be in their best interest to bring me aboard due to that situation," says Williamson.

He knows when he must move out and says he will be out by then.

Workers at Jasper County's Economic Security Corporation say there's a lot of unknowns about the November deadline.

"At this point, just having people get together to have discussions about what can happen," says Debbie Markman of ESC.

ESC workers say most of the residents in temporary housing don't have employment choices, like Williamson.  Therefore they can not afford a new place.

ESC does have a voucher program.

"A person pays by how much income they have," says Markman.  "So typically, if you have no income, that voucher then is going to pay most of that person's housing cost."

Fewer homes can be applied to vouchers because of last year's tornado.

"When you build new, those aren't going to be units you can rent for $300 to $450 a month," says Markman.

Two new affordable housing complexes are now open but some may not pass a credit check.

In the weeks before the November deadline county officials and ESC workers will try to categorize those who need help.

"Folks who are on a fixed income, can we refer them to senior housing, for example, do they know?" says Markman.  "Gave they been referred?  Veterans?  Do we have some veterans?"

But what's needed the most is continued determination and communication.

ESC officials also point out there are several not living in FEMA mobile housing units but are still receiving federal money for help.

The ESC is encouraging more religious organizations to help care for FEMA residents.  It'll hopefully be one more thing to help prepare these residents for the November deadline.

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