The first Federal Emergency Management Agency homes have been placed on individual lots in Ward County, primarily for the Minot and Burlington communities.
Noel Boxer, external affairs officer with FEMA, said as of noon Thursday, the lease on one FEMA home had been signed.
He said the lease is the last step in obtaining a FEMA manufactured home and now that individual or family already is living in one of the homes.
Two 12-by-40 foot Federal Emergency Management Agency manufactured homes are being installed on this private lot in northwest Minot, shown in this photo taken Thursday. Family members’ homes flank the lot on the north and south side.
FEMA placed three units in the Minot area Tuesday, seven units Wednesday and five more units Thursday, for a total of 15 units placed on private sites, Boxer said. He said those units are at various stages of installation.
FEMA will be bringing in "into the hundreds" of manufactured homes, Boxer said. "The numbers are being calculated on a daily basis as the request is made from an applicant who has a need for longterm temporary housing and as FEMA determines eligibility.
At the FEMA staging area for the manufactured homes east of Velva, Boxer said as of Thursday, there were eight 14-by-60 foot units which have three bedrooms and five axles.
Currently, there are 28 of the 12-by-40 foot units which are called "park" models, Boxer said.
He said 18 more of the different sizes right now are on their way to Minot from Selma, Ala.
"We also have some that are for the physically challenged which have lower bathroom railings and lower counters. Once the installation is complete we attach a ramp," Boxer said.
He said the units are winterized.
"They are winterized to the coldest temperatures in the United States which may very well be North Dakota or Alaska," Boxer added.
"What is interesting here is they have tie-downs that go 3 feet into the ground that are spec to sustain winds of a certain high speed," said Boxer, at a site in northwest Minot where two 12-by-40 foot units were being installed on a private lot Thursday.
Subcontractors for the main contractor, Parsons, a national firm, had nearly finished installing one of the homes that afternoon. Family members own homes damaged by the flood which flank the lot where these FEMA homes were being placed.
Pointing out the tie-downs on one of the units, crew working there said each unit will have 12 tie-downs.
Water and sewage was hooked up to the two units with piping running across the yard behind the units, connecting to one of the family member's houses nearby.
A temporary power pole was installed in the lot.
The subcontractor crew members working there said they were from Georgia. Boxer said many subcontractors are from Louisiana and Mississippi where they've had extensive experience with placing FEMA manufactured housing.
The crews have 72 hours to complete an installation.
Boxer said the optimum sites for the FEMA homes are private sites because they can be installed there easier and faster, plus it's a benefit to the homeowner because they can live in a temporary unit from FEMA while they work on their house.
Boxer has been working in the Minot area since June 20.
"To me this is the worst disaster I've ever seen in my FEMA career going back over a dozen years because of the concentrated impact and of the sizeable displaced population in a condensed area," Boxer said. "You tie that in with the lack of housing before the flooding due to the oil boom and now the extreme lack, even more so, of housing after the flooding and the fact that we're in a rural state where you don't have housing within 50 miles away or even 75 miles away. I know folks, those who have been displaced, that are driving in from everywhere."
"In a sense, a variety of factors have come together to make this a very difficult and unique flooding disaster," Boxer said. "The fact remains that we're still in response stage in the sense that a lot of water still hasn't receded but we've started recovery stage."