Last updated: February 20. 2013 1:03AM - 1098 Views

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The 41 Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile homes still occupied by Luzerne County victims of September 2011 flooding must be vacated by March 12, officials say.


Regulations allow flood victims to live in these temporary housing units for 18 months, and the clock starts on the date of the federal disaster declaration, in this case Sept. 12, 2011, said FEMA External Affairs Officer Josie Pritchard.


In Luzerne County, 113 households were placed in FEMA trailers after their homes were damaged by record Susquehanna River flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee, officials said.


The units, which are 34 feet by 12 feet, are stationed at mobile home parks, commercial sites or on private property. They were provided to flood victims with uninhabitable homes who couldn't find a house or apartment to rent.


FEMA case managers have been visiting trailer inhabitants at least once every 30 days to discuss their progress repairing flood-damaged homes or securing new permanent housing, Pritchard said.


Trailer inhabitants must pay their own utilities if their unit was placed on their property, she said. FEMA covers water, heat and electric for units set up on commercial or mobile home lots.


Plains Township Emergency Management Coordinator Charles Krommes said FEMA doesn't disclose which township residents are still in trailers to township officials, but he said most trailers set up in the municipality have been removed.


Krommes said he believes several township residents are still in FEMA trailers at the East Mountain Ridge Mobile Home Park off Jumper Road in the township as they await buyouts.


The FEMA caseworkers have been very active monitoring the trailer occupants to keep them focused on making plans, Krommes said.


They're doing their job and making sure these people have made some progress, encouraging them to get back in their homes or find somewhere else to live, Krommes said.


The owners of 163 county properties substantially damaged in September 2011 flooding should receive buyout offers by the end of this month or early February, said county Flood Protection Authority Executive Director Jim Brozena.


The purchase offers will be mailed as soon as all required documents are completed for the properties in West Pittston, Shickshinny and six townships -- Exeter, Jenkins, Conyngham, Plains, Nescopeck and Hunlock -- said county Flood Protection Authority Executive Director Jim Brozena.


Three municipalities – Plymouth Township, Nanticoke and Nescopeck – also are seeking buyouts for several more substantially damaged structures, but they opted to handle applications on their own instead without county assistance.


Structures had to lose at least half of their value due to September flooding to meet the definition of substantially damaged, officials said.


Brozena said some of the 163 people awaiting offers are in FEMA trailers, but he didn't have statistics.


We're moving forward with the offers, he said.


The state and federal government will spend an estimated $14.36 million to buy and demolish the 163 properties, he said.


Appraisals are based on pre-flood property values, and owners are free to accept or reject offers, he said.


Pritchard said the 41 county FEMA trailers are among 89 occupied mobile home units in 11 counties, including eight in neighboring Wyoming County.


She said the statistics were from the end of December and can change daily as people move into permanent living quarters.




The units, which are 34 feet by 12 feet, are stationed at mobile home parks, commercial sites or on private property.




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