Viewpoint: FEMA Unveils New Trailers Too Late

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is showing off its latest temporary housing solutions to victims of natural disasters. The new accommodation is highlighted in this article that uses prostitution terminology while proclaiming the author’s desire to become homeless in a traumatic weather event. And if Todd Wright’s coverage isn’t baffling enough, FEMA is announcing that of the remaining 5,101 households still lodging in the old trailers (though some are living in motels), all must vacate by the end of this month. One option short of vacating is to buy the old trailer, of course, though the structures are allegedly prone to being engulfed in flames. And, that’s not the only problem according to the agency: “On July 24, 2007, in response to concerns about potential health concerns associated with formaldehyde in temporary housing units, FEMA suspended the installation, sale, transfer or donation of travel trailers in its inventory while the agency worked with health and environmental experts to assess health-related concerns.” For the record, displacement of Hurricane Katrina victims is reaching the four-year mark. So, for those lucky enough to narrowly escape death only to live in dangerous and squalid conditions for nearly half a decade, feel inspired that others in such a situation will not have to face the same tragedy. In fact, journalists like Wright seem to be dying to get into one of the new trailers. Let’s hope he succeeds! And remember, if you opt to stay in your old trailer, you’ll be playing with fire: “For those who continue to remain in the FEMA unit after May 30, FEMA may request DOJ’s assistance to pursue legal action to gain possession of the temporary housing units,” the agency warns. Write to Jacob Gaffney.

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