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'I’m in a tent', housing crisis grows in Terrebonne while families wait for trailers

“We really got to get them temp-hosing programs moving at a faster rate,” said Terrebonne Parish director of planning and zoning Christopher Pulaski.

TERREBONNE PARISH, La. — It’s been a tough time for folks living in bayou communities which were slammed by Hurricane Ida two months ago. Even with all that time, many people are without homes and some find themselves zipping up a tent at night.  

“I’m surprised I’m in a tent,” said Rachel Martin. “I didn’t know where I was going to be two months after the storm.” 

When Rachael Martin returned home after Hurricane Ida, she thought she still had a place to live. 

“The roof was completely shaved off. It went all the way down to the plywood and that caused a bunch of water damage,” said Martin.  

Her home in Houma was condemned so she and her husband started staying with family members in Bourg, who also had roof damage.  

“Because of repairs taking so long it caused mold to grow in their house so now their house is going through mold remediation,” said Martin. 

Martin and her husband are now forced to live in a tent out back.  

“It’s hot when it’s hot and it’s cold when it’s cold,” said Martin. “It’s pretty rough.” 

They are one of almost 3,000 households in Terrebonne Parish in need of temporary housing. Martin applied for a travel trailer through the state program when it first started but hasn’t heard anything.  

“We really got to get them temp-hosing programs moving at a faster rate,” said Terrebonne Parish director of planning and zoning Christopher Pulaski.  

Pulaski says what should be up to a week and a half process of getting trailers to people is taking much longer. Pulaski says it’s frustrating to see more than 200 travel trailers sitting at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, unused.  

“At the end of the day, there’s federal guidelines to follow and steps to follow because that’s how FEMA requires and operates for the reimbursements and things like that. 

Martin says her home insurance policy doesn’t cover any type of emergency housing, and because she had insurance, isn’t getting any help from FEMA. 

“I’m not entitled to FEMA housing because of that so my only option is to stay in my car, stay with a family member or stay in a tent,” said Martin. 

As sounds of home repairs can be heard all over this bayou community, Martin just hopes the voices of those who live here are also heard.  

“Things are moving, for society, at a good steady pace, it’s just individually there’s a lot of families out here that desperately need help,” said Martin.  

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