FEMA considers on-water shelter for Hurricane Sandy victims

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is exploring the possibility of housing victims of Hurricane Sandy on the water.

FEMA issued a request “to seek industry input regarding immediately or rapidly available maritime-based solutions for providing interim housing to disaster survivors,” particularly in the New York and New Jersey areas.

This morning only four companies were listed under the “Interested Vendors List.”

FEMA is asking for information about “cost-effective interim housing” vessels with climate-appropriate designs. The boats should allow disaster survivors “to carry out normal day-to-day activities” and facilitate recovery while they seek permanent housing, according to the request.

The agency is not looking for information regarding the use of cruise ships or similar vessels.

FEMA is interested in designs, capability, availability, schedules and experience for “turn-key” contract(s), including production, transportation, berthing requirements setup, maintenance and demobilization, the information request stated.

“Should FEMA determine that maritime-based interim housing solutions are in the best interest of disaster survivors, then potential government contracts might include factors such as speed of delivery, cost-effectiveness, quality of the habitation (including survivor safety), possible proximity to survivors’ pre-disaster dwellings, experience and past performance,” the FEMA request stated.

“Preference would likely be given for U.S.-flagged vessels,” the statement read.

At this point the endeavor is to explore the possibility of housing Sandy victims at sea and is not an actual commitment by the agency, the statement read.

Other criteria FEMA is seeking include:

• Vessel utility design should facilitate ease of installation, connection and maintenance.

• Housing unit configuration may include a single modular unit per dwelling or multiple units interconnected to create a single dwelling.

• Individual dwellings will sleep two to six adults.

• Both vessels and housing must meet applicable codes and/or standards (for example, Coast Guard).

• At least 20 percent of dwellings should be fully compliant with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards.

Questions regarding this must be submitted in writing by noon EST on Dec. 3.

— Reagan Haynes

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