The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that the number of temporary housing units still occupied has fallen below 1,000.
"This is yet another step in the recovery process," said Dan Alexander, federal disaster recovery coordinator. "It's a demonstration that people are returning home and moving forward in their recovery."
As of October 16, there are 996 units occupied in Ward County. Of those, 345 are located on private property, 144 at five commercial home parks in Minot and Burlington and 507 at two housing sites developed by FEMA Virgil Workman Village just outside of Minot and De Sour Valley Heights in Burlington.
"We continue to work closely with those still residing in FEMA housing, and with our recovery partners, including the city of Minot, to find long-term housing solutions," Alexander said. "Our mission is to serve as a short-term bridge until sufficient housing can be re-established in the community."
FEMA's housing mission was extended through June 24, 2013. At the peak of the operation, more than 2,000 units were occupied. In addition to the temporary housing mission, FEMA has provided more than $90 million in financial assistance to individuals and households impacted by Souris Valley flooding.
FEMA continues to develop a plan that will enable unit residents without a permanent housing plan to buy the units for long-term housing.
FEMA spokesman Brian Hvinden said residents should receive a letter before the end of the month that will explain the sales program and allow them to notify the agency if they are interested in purchasing a unit. Agency staff also continue to meet monthly with residents to check on the progress of their permanent housing plans and discuss the various options they might have to move forward.
Residents will be charged rent if they remain in the units after Jan. 1, 2013, with the first payment due Feb. 1. Residents will receive those details in coming weeks.