The H&K Group Helps Provide Families Homes for the Holidays

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50 FEMA trailers are installed in Tunkhannock Township to provide temporary housing for flood victims.

The first of the FEMA trailers arrive.

With the Holiday season upon us, many of us are struggling to find last minute gifts. Unfortunately many residents of Tunkhannock Township are still struggling to find even a temporary place to call home. The devastating and unprecedented flooding brought on by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee this fall, damaged or destroyed homes throughout the eastern half of Pennsylvania and much of New Jersey, leaving an estimated 100,000 residents uprooted. As the seasons change and the weather grows colder many Tunkhannock flood victims continue to be displaced. The H&K Group was recently contracted to provide rapid site development work to prepare 8 acres of land for the placement of 50 temporary housing trailers, the goal being to get these unsettled families back into homes in time for the holidays.

With the Presidential declaration of the fall flooding considered a “major disaster,” funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became available to aid displaced residents. FEMA provides 18 months of housing assistance to flood victims typically in the form of rent assistance. But, when the number of victims outnumbers the available rental market, FEMA will seek to provide temporary housing in the form of mobile homes or trailers, as in this case.

In Tunkhannock rental properties were already limited due to the expanding natural gas industry and ancillary growth it has generated. FEMA concluded in November it would need to install 40 to 50 trailers in Wyoming County that could accommodate up to 125 people. The rush was then on to find and prepare a site for near immediate occupancy. Once a suitable site was found, The H&K Group, a family of integrated companies providing site contracting services and construction materials to eastern PA, NJ, MD and DE, was contracted by Sullivan Land Services of Houston Texas, to prepare the site for 50 FEMA housing trailers.

This was no small task, but drawing from the diversified strength of The H&K Groups’ family of construction and materials companies the challenge was met. In less than two weeks, 10,200 linear feet of pipe was installed, which included 29 water line taps, 29 water line services, 26 sanitary laterals and 13 structures. 11,880 cubic yards of land was stripped and 7,580 tons of crushed stone with 15,300 square yards of geo-textile fabric was utilized to properly stabilize the site. As excessive rains created muddy conditions on the worksite, it was concluded that lime stabilization would also be required. The H&K Group treated 46,657 square yards of soggy earth with over 600 tons of lime to soak up the rainwater and keep the project moving.

After stripping was complete, and with lime stabilization underway, cut and fill, utilities and pad construction ran concurrent. With delivery of the first trailer, the workforce more than tripled with the addition of electricians, plumbers and carpenters preparing trailers for occupancy. The 8 acre site became a hive of activity with all these craftsman onsite simultaneously, working together to reach their goal of getting families into homes by years end.

On Wednesday, December 21, upwards of 25 families were able to move into the first of the completed FEMA trailers. Families will live in these 2 or 3 bedroom trailers for the next 18 months, giving them time to find permanent housing. Equally important, as the temperature drops and with the Holidays upon us, many families who were left homeless from September’s flooding will finally be able to settle in and end months of uncertainty. The hard work and tireless efforts of all those involved has been rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing they were able to give these families a home for the holidays.

About The H&K Group

The H&K Group and The H&K Group Family of Companies provide site contracting and construction services, construction materials including crushed stone, asphalt and ready-mix concrete, and associated architectural stone and manufactured hardscape and retaining wall products and services through 85 operations in four states including eastern PA, NJ, MD and DE. Further information on H&K, Inc. or The H&K Group Family of Companies may be found by pointing your browser to http://www.hkgroup.com.

The H&K Group is proud to offer comprehensive disaster response services through the company’s Emergency Response Team program. In response to Tropical Storm Lee, the company reached out to both public and private agencies with extended hours at all materials facilities in and around the flood zone, as well as providing emergency paving, demolition, excavating and clean up services. Given The H&K Group’s large footprint of both construction materials facilities and site contracting divisions throughout the four-state region, we are the ultimate source for comprehensive emergency response for any disaster or emergency situation. “One Call and We’re There!” 1-800-982-8000.

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Tony Jeremias