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Commodore/Colony to Build Homes for FEMA, Harvey Hurricane Survivors

Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 12:10 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

FEMA HomePAINT TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Employees at Commodore Homes and Colony Homes in Paint Township are going to be very busy until Christmas as they build 197 homes for victims of the Harvey Hurricane in Texas along with their normally produced homes.

(Photo: an example of the homes that will be built for Texas. It is similar to the one that was inspected down south when the Commodore/Colony purchasing team visited.)

“The Commodore Corporation is pleased to announce that Commodore Homes of Pennsylvania and Colony Factory Crafted Homes have been selected by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to produce emergency housing for people in Texas who lost their homes in Hurricane Harvey,” said Commodore Corporation President Barry Shein.

The employees are a vital part of fulfilling the contract.

“The abilities and willingness of our workforce is the key to pulling this project off,” said Colony General Manager Wayne Wright.  “If we didn’t have the right workforce, we couldn’t do this.  It’s more difficult than it looks.”

“Everybody is going into it with an open mind knowing they will be doing new things,” Wright said. “We will have to shift some people around, but we have had no pushback.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked pre-fabricated housing manufacturers to produce at least 4,500 homes for families affected by Hurricane Harvey, according to the agency.

The agency said in a statement that the houses are part of a “variety of housing options to ensure disaster survivors with housing needs receive housing assistance to help their way to recovery.”

The agency added, “This is a long duration storm, the recovery will be challenging, take time, and the help of the whole community is required.”

Both Wright and Commodore General Manager Karl Tarango are sure their employees are capable of the project, and it is a good opportunity for the two manufacturers to contribute to hurricane victims. Tarango and Wright are confident the 300 workers from both plants will be able to meet FEMA’s deadline.

“At a local level, we have an opportunity to do something good,” Tarango said.

The big job is indeed “more difficult than it looks.” The companies already sent production crews to Braxton, Georgia, to see how the homes are to be built according to the specifications.

“We also had the managers of our purchasing departments go to Selma, Alabama, a month ago to look over all of the different kinds of materials that we were going to need to build these units,” said Wright. 

Colony and Commodore normally purchase material from local or regional companies, but government contract specifications require different material.

“The amount of different material we have to bring in to build these things is just unbelievable,” said Wright. “Some of the material required can’t be purchased locally, and thus, some of it is being freighted in because of government requirements.”

The companies are contractually obligated to build the homes by December 20, according to Tarango.

“We’re working with a local trucking company to be the main source in getting our homes delivered in a timeframe to Texas,” said Wright.

In order to take on the project, both factories will interrupt their normal building schedules.

“We will build blocks of these,” said Wright.  “In other words, we’re starting a block of these on October 30, and we’re going to build 52 units in a block.  Commodore is going to start on November 13, and they’re going to build 56 units in a block. On December 11, we’re each going to build at the same time the balance of the 197. Colony is building 100 and Commodore is building 97. The key is to get them all shipped and delivered 1,600 miles to Hearne, Texas, by Christmas.”

The homes will be 14 feet wide by 49 feet long and include two bedrooms and one bathroom.

“We are committed to build these quality homes in November and December and have them all shipped prior to Christmas,” said Shein. “We are proud of our workforce which has the flexibility to adapt to the stringent government requirements for this housing.”

Company officials are unsure if additional FEMA housing contracts will be awarded, but with the continued hurricane devastation, it is a possibility.  Reportedly, FEMA has now received housing requests for assistance from more than 560,000 victims.

Shein, Wright, and Tarango all feel that whatever the future brings, they will take one project at a time.

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