Saturday, August 11, 2007

FEMA to Stop Housing Disaster Victims in RVs

WASHINGTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency won't use travel trailers to house disaster victims anymore and will buy back any surplus trailers sold to the public as recreational vehicles.

"FEMA will refund the purchase price of any recreational vehicle sold, within the last 12 months, directly to an occupant, upon repossession of the unit," FEMA Administrator David Paulison wrote his staff in a recent memo.

Many hurricane Katrina and Rita victims are still living in cramped travel trailers because they can't find or afford alternative housing. Many are concerned that elevated levels of formaldehyde in the trailers and mobile homes have made many sick, and some are taking legal action.

FEMA last week announced it would stop selling surplus trailers — those vacated by storm victims who found better housing — through the General Services Administration, which serves as the federal government's supplier. But FEMA did not tell the public it has decided to buy back surplus trailers, which Paulison said were sold at a rate of about 1,200 a week.
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