At yesterday’s hearing on the future of FEMA disaster housing before the House Homeland Security Committee the committee staff produced an interesting exhibit. It shows the various models of housing that FEMA has either purchased of is testing through the Katrina Cottage demonstration program. It is reproduced in part below.
As I blogged about a couple weeks ago, there is clearly a lot of improvement that is needed to make these structures into anything more than temporary housing.
Leveraging temporary post-disaster housing into permanent housing is essential to a rebuilding strategy for lower-income families. Whatever housing is provided to lower-income families on a temporary basis will likely represent a large portion of the total amount of government funds allocated to meeting those families’ total — temporary and permanent housing needs. We have seen in the wake of the past three hurricanes to strike Texas that we are unlikely to get enough HUD funds (or to secure local political support to spend enough of the available funds for housing) to completely rebuild the pre-disaster housing of all lower income survivors. Therefore, these rather large FEMA temporary housing investments should be leveraged as the platform for permanent rebuilding.
The $61.815 Heston model in the picture below is the one being deployed in Texas under contract with FEMA. Clearly none of these temporary housing solutions will provide a permanent housing solution.