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Residents in the path of the series of storms that have ravaged Florida and now Alabama are seeking transportation and housing options, says Joe Laing, marketing director for El Monte RV, a California-based motorhome rental company that sprung into action when the first of three hurricanes hit the region.
He told the Miami Herald that extra fleets were shipped to Florida to answer the stronger demand and that the company has offered discounts to Floridians in need.
He said the company also loaned some units out free to the Orlando Police Dept., and seven more were rented by Florida Power & Light for a variety of uses as the company worked to restore power to hundreds of thousands of Florida residents.
Even insurance companies, he said, come to the company in search of temporary housing for customers.
When the storms first threatened Florida, Laing said, El Monte flew drivers to offices in New York and other locations and drove down about 35 more motorhomes, a 35 percent increase in the number typically in Miami and Orlando.
Some want a motorhome to get out of town. Others, says Laing, want it for when they get back and can’t get into their property.
”People want to stay on or near their property while it’s being repaired,” he said. “Some have animals, like horses, and they need to stay nearby to care for them. Some just want to supervise construction or repairs.
”And because they all have generators, some rent so they can have power. These have complete kitchens, refrigerators. They can move their stuff from their own refrigerators and into the motorhome, and have toilet and shower facilities, too,” he said.
Laing said the most popular models are the bus-style motorhomes. He says they are easier to drive than most would think, and everyone gets full instruction on driving and operating all the equipment.
The Herald reported that motorhome rentals run about $125 to $160 a day, depending on the size and duration of rental. They typically sleep from four to seven.
”Everybody’s so caught up in these storms,” said Laing. “You can hear the stress in people’s voices. And the people in our offices, in Miami and Orlando and Punta Gorda have been doing a tremendous job of trying to stay open to accommodate as many as they can.”