Area officials expressed their concerns and needs Wednesday to U.S. Sen. David Vitter about the ongoing recovery Hurricane Ritas destruction. The list of problems included dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the acute housing shortage, and the need for assistance to small businesses and the Port of Lake Charles. Among the officials meeting with Vitter at the Lake Charles Regional Airport were Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach, Iowa Mayor Margo Racca, state Reps. Dan Morrish of Jennings, Brett Geymann of Moss Bluff, and Chuck Kleckley of Lake Charles, Calcasieu OEP Director Dick Gremillion, Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon, Chief Deputy Gary Stitch Guillory of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriffs Department and airport manager Alan Kratzer. Vitter, R-La., said he was there to hear their concerns, correct problems and make sure the right kind of aid is getting to Southwest Louisiana. Roach and the other officials top complaint they are getting from constituents is, people not receiving their emergency $2,000 FEMA checks. Roach said some FEMA workers dont seem to know how the program is supposed to work. Morrish said he was receiving the same kind of complaints about the FEMA assistance with some deserving people being turned down. Roach said there may soon be a local FEMA office opening in Lake Charles to help deal with the problems. Roach said several large apartment complexes may have to close for repairs, which could displace 17,000 people. He said there is a critical need to find housing for all the displaced people. Morrish said they had the same problem with housing in Jennings, since many of the displaced residents of Cameron Parish are staying in Jeff Davis Parish. Vitter asked the local officials to firm up the numbers of how many people need housing, and specific locations where temporary FEMA housing could be located. He said it would expedite the process if they had firm numbers to work with. Gremillion said OEP has been working on the locations for the past two weeks, which should speed up the process. Kratzer said three places on airport property have been identified as possible locations for some temporary housing. Kleckley, Geymann and Racca also voiced the need for expedited assistance for small businesses and the Port of Lake Charles. Kleckley said many businesses cant reopen because their employees cant return due to the lack of housing. Someone in Washington needs to get this mess straightened out, he said. Roach added that it was obvious the current federal disaster regulations are focused on localized disasters and are inadequate to deal with a region-wide catastrophe like the one suffered by Louisiana. Racca said Iowas tax base has been affected because many businesses have not been able to open. Vitter said that a package of assistance has been passed and should soon begin bringing aid to local governments for essential services. However, he said there has been considerable resistance in Congress to providing direct grants to private businesses. Geymann said small businesses have also been having trouble getting supplies. Morrish also asked that FEMAs deadline for paying for debris removal be extended past the first 30 days, as the regulations currently specify. Roach suggested that the vegetative debris be used for marsh restoration, like the Christmas tree program. He said that would enable it to be cleared sooner and would be better than dumping it in landfills. Guillory said the biggest concern for the sheriffs department was getting reimbursement from FEMA on the millions of dollars in overtime it has had to pay to employees. Dixon said the biggest concern of the police department was what was going to be done with all the displaced people, and who would provide security at the temporary housing locations. He said his department was already stretched thin. Kleckley closed the meeting by urging expedited assistance for the Port of Lake Charles, which he said is vital to the area economy.