Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tornado forces students to rethink housing options


Many UA students who were left homeless after the tornado are having some difficulty finding housing for next year.

Before the tornado, Tuscaloosa seemed to have something for every person’s needs, with apartments and houses around the city available for rent. Currently, Tuscaloosa cannot offer this variety of housing anymore, and some of the housing options available are not ideal for everyone.

“There aren’t many houses out there for rent,” said Brandon McLeod, a senior who was displaced by the tornado. “I am really looking for a place that has a fence for my two dogs; I definitely don’t want to be in an apartment next year.”

Before the tornado, McLeod lived in a house behind the CVS on 15th Street. It was fairly close to campus, with space for his dogs to run around. He hasn’t found anything that could accommodate his needs yet.

“I’ve looked around campus and around Hargrove,” he said. “I’ve been looking everyday pretty much since it happened.”

In order to find a place that is right for him, McLeod might have to start looking in Northport, a solution Mayor Maddox thinks many people may have to resort to.

“I think we’ll be close, but there will likely be several hundred people that will have to seek housing outside the city – whether it’s Northport, or in the county, or possibly in another county,” Maddox said.

For anyone who isn’t willing to move out of the city of Tuscaloosa, there are still apartment complexes with rooms available. University Village Apartments and Cornerstone Properties, who manage complexes like The Houndstooth and University Downs, are just a few of the places still leasing for fall.

Cathy Andreen, director of media relations, said only 80 percent of the off-campus housing was full last year, so they believe student housing needs can be met.

FEMA is one of the best options students can look to when trying to receive assistance with finding a new place to live. As of yesterday, FEMA had given $53.8 million in assistance to individuals and households, with $38.3 million of that going towards housing assistance, according to Tim Tyson, a public information specialist for FEMA.

“Disaster survivors who qualify for rental assistance have been able to find temporary lodging,” Tyson said. “We work really closely with the city, the county and the state to locate rental properties.”

After all of the other options in and around Tuscaloosa have been exhausted, FEMA temporary housing will be called on as a last resort, Tyson said. The mobile homes come in two models, a three bedroom and a smaller park model. All of the units have never been lived in and are relatively new.

Tyson said some temporary housing has already been brought into Tuscaloosa.

“We like to get survivors located close to their community, their churches, their schools so they can get into the rebuilding process in as a familiar setting as possible,” he said. “In large scale disasters, such as this one, it’s a difficult concept.”

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