Temporary Housing Available For Mississippi Tornado Victims

Gov. Tate Reeves, center, walks hand-in-hand with Mississippi First Lady Ellie Reeves while touring tornado damage in Rolling Fork, Miss
Gov. Tate Reeves, center, walks hand-in-hand with Mississippi First Lady Ellie Reeves while touring tornado damage in Rolling Fork, Miss., with President Joe Biden behind them on March 31, 2023; the couple is flanked by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to the left and U.S. House Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to the right. State officials announced on Monday, May 1, 2023, that FEMA is providing direct housing assistance to about 250 people affected by the storms. Photo courtesy Gov. Tate Reeves/Twitter

About 250 survivors of the deadly tornadoes that swept through Mississippi on March 24 are now eligible for direct housing assistance through FEMA, State officials announced Monday.

The affected residents are located in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, Montgomery, Panola and Sharkey counties. FEMA will provide eligible applicants with transportable temporary housing units “and other forms of housing for residents displaced due to the March 24th tornadoes,” Gov. Tate Reeves’ press office said in an announcement yesterday.

“This is a temporary housing solution while residents navigate the rebuild(ing) of their home,” Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Stephen McCraney said in a statement with the governor Monday. “A long-term housing solution for survivors will take time and effort. Survivors are asked to be patient and consider all avenues when determining what will be best for each family moving forward.”

The announcement said tornado survivors who have already applied for FEMA assistance do not need to reapply to receive direct housing assistance. “FEMA will contact the survivor if they are eligible for direct housing assistance,” the press release continued. “FEMA will NOT ask for any money. Residents who qualify for direct housing can live in the temporary housing units for up to 18 months.”

The March 24 tornadoes killed 26 people and left at least 170 injured while damaging or destroying thousands of homes and other structures.

Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, is also offering to help residents who had a “mobile home or single-family home” that “was destroyed by the tornadoes and was uninsured or under-insured” with its mobile home replacement program, the announcement said.

“We are extremely grateful to Samaritan’s Purse for assisting citizens with their housing needs. We cannot thank them enough,” MEMA State Coordinating Officer Todd DeMuth said in the statement. “However, not every survivor will qualify for direct housing or meet Samaritan’s Purse criteria. We’ve identified a new task force to assist those residents and bridge the gap in recovery. These solutions won’t make the survivor whole, but it will get them in the right step in returning to normalcy.”

a photo of a man with a gray beard standing amid piles of debris that include sofas and insulation, and holding his hands out, a baseball cap atop his head
A resident looks through the piles of debris, insulation and home furnishings to see if anything is salvageable at a mobile home park on Saturday, March 25, 2023, the morning after deadly tornadoes swept through Rolling Fork, Miss. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

In his press release, Reeves said the State “is in this for the long hall.”

“We’ll continue to seek out every available resource to help these communities rebuild and get people back on their feet. FEMA and Samaritan’s Purse have been great partners throughout the recovery process,” he said. “I’m incredibly thankful to all those around the country who have supported Mississippians in their moment of need.”

For questions regarding FEMA Direct Housing Assistance, residents can call 800-621-3362 or check their application status online at disasterassistance.gov.

For questions regarding Samaritan’s Purse, residents can call 828-588-4663

For questions regarding The Mississippi Housing Task Force click here. Survivors can also find a list of available resources at this link.


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