An estimated 40,000 homes are damaged because of flooding in Louisiana. Texas A&M University Professor of Urban Planning Shannon Van Zandt says housing those displaced in mobile or manufactured homes, as has been done in past disaster situations, is not an ideal solution. “FEMA has tried several approaches over the years, and most have been fraught with difficulties, and there is a clear tendency for temporary solutions to become permanent,” Van Zandt states. “A review of nearly 50 post-disaster evaluations of housing rebuilding tells us that mobile or manufactured homes are not ideal and can lead to several negative outcomes for families.”
She says a pilot program from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, called RAPIDO, provides a model for how families can be returned to their properties more quickly and rebuild their homes in place. “While this program may not be able to implemented at full scale without pre-disaster planning, it offers important lessons for communities seeking to get families back in homes quickly,” she notes.