The (FEMA) barges meant to house displaced Port Arthur residents failed Coast Guard inspection because they had rails missing, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick tells KFDM/Fox 4. Port Arthur Mayor Derrick Freeman said earlier in the week that two barges – each set to house 300 people – would be coming to Port Arthur with the city’s shelter at Thomas Jefferson Middle School expected to be unavailable with school beginning soon.
PORT ARTHUR: Please allow me to clarify our housing situation as of right now. We have 270 citizens in the shelter at TJMS. We have 300 citizens in Garland/Dallas/San Antonio. Added to that, we have 250+ citizens being displaced by flooding on their first floor apartments. Then we currently have some 4000+ citizens sheltering in their homes. PAISD first thought they would be out 4-5 weeks, but after assessing the damage on all the campuses they were able to get our kids back in school in under three weeks, which obviously pushed our sheltering timeline up at Jefferson. It’s time for our young academics to get back to learning and winning District & State Championships! #SSC
BARGES: Not sure who found the big grey box picture of the housing barges the news had, but the living quarters we have coming looks more like a river boat. It will also be anchored within our city limits and be ADA compliant and accessible. Residents will receive three meals a day, laundry access, towel service, direct tv and many other amenities will be available. #FEMA is making the 600 units available to our citizens in shelters at TJMS/Garland/Dallas/San Antonio and our evicted tenants first.
Disaster Housing Assistance: Jefferson County, TX was not declared eligible until yesterday morning 9/12/17. I know many of you called FEMA earlier than yesterday and they only offered limited options, like a hotel voucher. But now that the declaration has been made you should call back and see what other options are available to you and your family. Their phone number is 1-800-621-3362. Or go online www.disasterassistance.gov. If you are denied something ask what the next step is. FEMA has many levels of assistance. Be it a trailer, up front cash to repair your home and shelter there, or just a little help to get over the hump. Please check back with FEMA.
DRC (Disaster Recovery Center): FEMA is in the process of finalizing a lease of office space to house another DRC in Port Arthur. They opened one today in Beaumont in the Gateway Shopping Center.
Hope this clears up some confusion, but more than anything I pray it helps. Thanks for reading.