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Province providing 65 interim housing units for families displaced by the wildfire

Last Updated Sep 2, 2016 at 5:59 am MDT

A look at one of the modular homes being provided by the province. Danielle Larivee, Facebook.

The modular units will arrive in Parsons Creek in early October with families moving in mid- to late-October

Families in need of units with three or more bedrooms are eligible to apply starting next week

The arrival of the units will overlap with the last month camper parking is allowed in Abram's landing

Starting in mid-to-late October families displaced by the wildfire will be able to move into temporary housing provided by the province with facilitation by the RMWB.

The provincial government will be bringing 65 modular housing units up to Fort McMurray from Slave Lake in early October to provide temporary housing for people displaced by the May wildfire.

The temporary units will be located in Parsons Creek and will be available for up to two years while people rebuild their homes. All of the homes have been cleaned, painted, and restored after they were used in the aftermath of the Slave Lake wildfire.

“Ensuring that families have a safe place to call home is key part of restoring the community of Fort McMurray. This interim housing is a crucial step towards ensuring those who lost their homes have a safe place to stay while they rebuild and recover,” said Danielle Larivee, Vice-Chair of Alberta’s Wood Buffalo Ministerial Recovery Task Force and Minister of Municipal Affairs.

A survey done by the Red Cross in July and August showed the biggest need is for three- and four-bedroom housing for families who cannot occupy their homes, either because they were destroyed or because they are in restricted areas.

Depending on demand for the units more homes may be sent north to Fort McMurray.

There is also a need for one- and two-bedroom housing but the RMWB has found those needs can be met through available space on the market either in rental units or long-term stay hotels. There is a list of available accommodations online at the Wildfire Recovery page. While the province focuses on the supports for larger families the RMWB is working on options to meet the needs of residents who need one or two bedrooms.

At a presentation to the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee on Wednesday evening Erin O’Neill, Recovery Branch Lead, explained that part of the work of the RMWB will also include connecting people who have space to rent with people looking for a place to stay and encouraging homeowners who are considering selling their homes to rent those homes to people in need instead.

In order to access space in the modular homes being provided by the province people will have to complete an application process. Families in need of units with three or more bedrooms are eligible to apply.

Anyone currently living in Fort McMurray will have to make that application in person at a demonstration home that is being set up at the Youth Assessment Centre at 180 Mackenzie Boulevard. Residents will be charged market rates to stay in the modular homes.

The Red Cross will offer supports where insurance doesn’t cover all the costs to people who are registered and who go through the case management process.

You can also apply for interim housing through the Wood Buffalo Housing starting next Friday. Residents living outside the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo who are unable to apply in person can contact the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation once the application process begins.

The availability of the modular homes will overlap with the final month that camper parking is allowed in Abram’s landing.

If you have questions about the housing plan you are invited to attend the RMWB public engagement session Thursday evening from 4-8 at Shell Place. There will be two identical presentations on the housing plan, one at 4:30 and one at 6:30, followed by the opportunity to ask questions one-on-one of service providers.