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Va. mobile home builder helping NYC storm victims

Monday - 12/10/2012, 9:39am  ET

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (AP) - A mobile home manufacturer's Virginia facility is building temporary housing for some displaced victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Factory Expo Homes in Rocky Mount has completed the first mobile home that will be transported to the grounds of Faith Church in New Milford, Conn. The first home is scheduled to be shipped starting Tuesday.

Starting Dec. 23, the Connecticut church will welcome displaced families from Staten Island, N.Y., where a month ago waist-deep water piled through streets during the storm. In addition to free rent, the church also is offering the new residents free food each week along with access to its campus school.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is buying the homes. The New York-based foundation honors the memory of Staten Island firefighter Stephen Siller, who was killed in the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Foundation director of operations John Hodge told The Roanoke Times ( http://bit.ly/XHQLoP) that former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Staten Island borough president James Molinaro asked for the foundation's assistance after the storm. The foundation focused first on immediate needs, such as providing water, food, blankets and clothing.

"Then, as we started to look more long term, we realized we needed to do something about housing," he said.

Hodge talked to Michael Feinman, a Rocky Mount-based salesman for Factory Expo Homes. The foundation placed an initial order for 15 single-wide homes and Feinman said it might order as many as 10 more.

"Everybody is doing what they can to make this thing happen," Feinman said.

After the first mobile home is shipped, Feinman said he expects three more homes will be ready Thursday.

Hodge said the foundation has earmarked up to $1 million to help establish temporary housing for Staten Island residents. He said zoning prohibited placing the mobile homes on Staten Island.

"The folks in Connecticut have just been unbelievable in their generosity," he said.

Factory Expo Homes plant general manager Tom Satterwhite said his company is pleased to be involved.

"It makes all of our people really proud to be a part of this," he said. "It's hard to lose your home any time. But around the holidays, with the weather getting colder, a lot of people need shelter."


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)