Port Arthur presented with option to buy tiny homes for displaced storm victims

Port Arthur presented with option to buy tiny homes for displaced storm victims

There's another option on the table to solve Port Arthur's housing crisis.

City officials have been presented with option to buy tiny homes for displaced storm victims

Tropical Storm Harvey damaged 90 percent of the city's homes, forcing many residents out of town or to live in tents provided by the government.

Amy Turner and her 2-year-old grandson Corbin are two of the 230 people who call the tents home, at least temporarily.

"it's like camping with all the necessities," said Turner.

Tropical Storm Harvey forced Turner and Corbin out of their apartment, and they have no idea when they'll return to their apartment.

But so far, Turner says she has no complaints about her current living arrangements.

"The food is good. They treat us good. They're respectful. They give you your needs, like medical needs, transportation," she said.

Jefferson County Commissioner Michael Sinegal says the tent city at the Bob Bowers Civic Center has served a purpose.

"It did allow them to come back to their community, but I just think we need to get them out of these tents as quick as possible," Commissioner Sinegal said.

Sinegal believes those displaced from their homes want to settle in something more permanent.

"People want to come home and that breaks your heart that they want to come home and we as elected officials have to have a plan on how to reintegrate them in their community," he said.

And, that's where Leroy Jackson comes in. Jackson is a consultant from Washington, D.C.

Commissioner Sinegal invited Jackson to Port Arthur to help assess the housing crisis.

'The commissioner and I went out and saw people living in tents and that just brought tears to my eyes, to tell you the truth," said Jackson.

Jackson suggested a possible solution -- tiny homes -- that range in size from 680-square feet to more than 1,000-square feet.

The homes could be leased or purchased and constructed in just a week.

Storm victims in the U.S. Virgin Islands are already living in the steel-framed houses that Jackson says can withstand 180-mile-per-hour winds and have a life span of 50-years or more.

Jackson says NexGen Framing out of Florida builds the homes and would be interested in having a manufacturing plant in Port Arthur.

"What we're going to do is employ the people here to work in the plant on and on..." Jackson said.

The Port Arthur City Council would have to approve the idea, Turner says she's already sold.

"That would be great," she said. "it would give people a peace of mind and of stability, knowing they got something, they can call their own."

If the council approves the proposal for the tiny homes, KFDM has been told the manufacturing plant would employ up to 20 workers inside the plant and more than 100 worker out in the field setting up the homes.

The company says the cost of the homes will be competitive, but company officials have not yet released an exact cost for the structures.

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