(Not selected:“Cost-Effective, Dignified and Safe” NOLA Bungalow)
Federal law prohibits subsidizing permanent housing in disaster relief. Thus the infamous and expensive FEMA trailer. So Congress appropriated $400 million for a pilot project to look at alternatives on the Gulf Coast. Five states submitted 29 proposals with Louisiana submitting 6. The Times Picayune reports one one Louisiana project has been selected even though the state suffered the greatest loss in housing stock from 2005 hurricanes. Further the one selected would be awarded to the Shaw Group and ICF…
While Louisiana is expected to get $74.5 million for a single project, Mississippi is expected to receive $280.8 million for two projects, according to an advisory distributed Thursday to members of Congress. FEMA officials declined to comment, promising to explain the program and awards at the news conference today.
“FEMA has clearly learned very little from its mistakes, let alone basic math or a sense of fundamental fairness,” said U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who last month was selected for the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which oversees FEMA. “Under FEMA’s upside-down decision-making, Louisiana gets the short end of the stick for alternative housing programs by almost 4 to 1, despite suffering more than three times the housing loss.”
The 2005 hurricanes destroyed more than 205,000 homes in Louisiana, while 61,386 were destroyed in Mississippi, according to Landrieu’s office.
It comes as no surprise to learn that the Shaw Group which has already benefited from huge no bid contracts on the Gulf Coast is once again favored along with the terrible performer ICF with the project selected…
The project is borne out of a partnership that includes the Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group, which was awarded several millions of dollars in contracts related to cleanup and recovery work after Katrina, and ICF International, the contractor running the state’s much-maligned Road Home program.
Some local builders, hopeful of getting a piece of the $400 million pie, showcased their efforts in September during a Housing Solutions Summit at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
One local builder had previously touted the NOLA bungalow, [pictured at top] a wood-frame shotgun-of-sorts on wheels that featured a low-energy air conditioning system, wind rating of 150 mph and a price tag of $55,000 for purchase and installation — $10,000 less than the cost of a FEMA trailer.