108 homes require FEMA help to resolve land ownership issues

Under FEMA’s Expanded Disaster Legal Services program, 48 cases got ownership resolution, 63 are pending

Of the 305 total participating households in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Permanent Housing Construction program, 108 require/required FEMA’s legal services assistance to resolve land ownership issues.

FEMA Recovery Office director Sheryl Clark Cochran disclosed yesterday that to date, 48 cases have received a legal ownership resolution through their Expanded Disaster Legal Services (EDLS) program.

Cochran said 40 opted out of the EDLS program, with 63 cases currently assigned for resolution.

Asked who are FEMA’s lawyers providing assistance, the director said FEMA entered into an intergovernmental service agreement to work with the CNMI’s Office of the Attorney General.

She said the OAG has entered into direct contracts with participating local attorneys.

“The CNMI OAG is responsible for implementation of the program with oversight and funding from FEMA,” the director said.

Cochran said under their Permanent Housing Construction (PHC) program to build new homes, found eligible are 407 homes on Saipan and 19 homes on Tinian.

Participating in the program are 170 homes on Saipan, and 13 homes on Tinian.

Under PHC repair program, found eligible are 420 homes on Saipan, 30 homes on Tinian.

Participating in the repair program are 112 homes on Saipan, 10 homes on Tinian.

On Saipan, one new home construction was completed Friday, while 24 new homes are currently under construction, 10 awaiting contractual award, and 22 have pending legal assistance. Completed repairs are 56 homes.

On Tinian, no new home construction has been constructed to date, five awaiting contractual award, and three have pending legal assistance.

Three homes have completed repairs.

Cochran in an interview Friday disclosed that they found that some of the survivors of Super Typhoon Yutu’s massive destructions on Saipan and Tinian in October 2018 had issues with providing clear deeds or titles to the property proving proper land ownership.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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