New Homes for Hurricane Victims

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Stewart Park Homes in Thomasville was contracted by FEMA to build temporary homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now as they get ready to wrap up the project, FEMA has asked them to build even more.

Stewart Park Homes ships out about 100 homes a week. The original 1,000 units FEMA had originally ordered after Hurricane Katrina will be completed at the end of this month, but Stewart Park will continue making homes for FEMA.

Every 25 minutes a unit is rolled out and shipped to FEMA, and the director of Stewart Park Homes says it's going to be like this through the spring now that FEMA has asked for an additional 800 homes.

Mark Williams, director, says, "FEMA originally had us building one-bedroom units. Right now they have us building two-bedroom units doing some special units for individuals that are handicap and have special needs."

The disaster relief project has created 200 new jobs at Stewart Park Homes, and employees, many of whom got their job because of this project, say building these homes gives them great satisfaction.

Adolphus Barnie, an employee, says, "It's a great feeling ‘cause every now and then somebody needs a helping hand, and I love helping people, so it's a great feeling."

Roberto Barrera, a team leader, says, "I'm proud of being Hispanic and working here. We're hard working, and people of all races are here working together to do what we can for the hurricane victims."

Mark Williams adds, "It's not just a unit we're building, it's a home for somebody who needs a place to live. For kids, for family members, it's a good feeling. It's a good way of going into Christmas."

The director says he got a chance to visit Baton Rouge and saw some of the homes they built, and met some of the residents. He says they are grateful for their new homes and the care packages sent by the community.

The director says they hope to finish building the newly ordered homes by mid-February, but this will require hiring an additional 100 employees.