FEMA and the Deathly Trailers, Pt. 2


  • Many months after officially ignoring reports of toxic chemicals infusing
    overtly overpriced trailers belatedly supplied to displaced hurricane victims
    and steadfastly sidelining and obstructing any investigations or tests on
    the trailers, FEMA finally admits there is a problem.

  • Deadly Trailers and campers have been already been sold to users, number unknown to FEMA.

  • FEMA sends some of the deadly trailers to Oklahoma for the flood and tornado victims.

  • 500 frustrated Deathly Trailers residents finally bring suit against trailer supplier/manufacturers.
  • Then FEMA announces it will no longer supply these deadly trailers.
  • Then FEMA promises to buy back any trailers or campers sold.

  • Then offers to give rental assistance to any who wish to move out of the over 58,000 deadly trailers now inhabited in the area.
  • Or pay them to relocate somewhere else.

BUT-- Wait! There's more!

  • Rental demographics in New Orleans and the surrounding areas have drastically changed.

  • Many do not want to rent, just want to rebuild homes they own. BUT

    • Less than 20 percent in Louisiana have received the FEMA grants to rebuild that they have applied for.

      While 80 percent and more in Mississippi have gotten theirs.

    • Not to mention the myriad problems in getting insurance companies to pay up so they can rebuild.

  • For whatever reason, the tax assessors for the remaining houses in New Orleans
    area drastically raised assessments way beyond reasonable increases.

    • Like from 35,000 to 300,000! With taxes doubled, tripled and more!

    • With a sadly staffed, unreasonably limited time and torturous location
      for those wishing to appeal these exorbitant tax assessment increases,
      many of the appealers did not get heard, thus leaving many out in the
      cold, sorry, literally the brutal heat with no tax relief. IOW long lines
      outside in the sun, no shade, water or restrooms, not enough staff to
      handle the numbers of complainants. (This was torture!)

    • 5,262 New Orleans property owners have appealed their new assessments, only about 3 percent of property owners.

  • As a result, those who have rentals are being forced to raise rents or maintain the high rents

  • The reality is that pre-Katrina, most rentals were about one-third above
    $1,000 a month and two-thirds were under, many even under $500.

  • Now post-Katrina, rentals demographics have reversed. Less than 10 percent are under $1000 a month, even in out-lying areas, and hardly any are under $500.

So, although FEMA is supposedly buying back the Katrina trailers that have been sold, some have found their efforts to get their money back bounced from one agency to another and back. Evasive tactics.

And although FEMA promises to find everyone a place to live and to give them a year's rental assistance, there are about 200,000 people in these Deathly Trailers now, in the high heat and humidity of a Southern summer which increases the deadly fumes given off by formaldehyde, with very few affordable alternatives to rent.

In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of people are living in or near the Deathly Trailers, suffering many serious health problems. Some have even died from the effects of the toxic fumes while waiting for FEMA to stop stalling.

Complexity or Complicity?

Read all about it on New Orleans Times-Picayune or on the Gambit

The Gambit features:
Times-Picayune features:
Other News sources:

The People

Undervalued homes may have hurt recovery efforts

Getting enough insurance or grants to rebuild from Katrina damage at today's costs may have been hindered many who wanted to rebuild. Especially if they
had to pay for living expenses elsewhere, and many had to as FEMA assistance was a long time coming if at all.

Misguided Assistance

Questions have been posed about the costs of providing these deadly trailers vs. providing the funds for actual rebuilding and recovery efforts. FEMA excuses are all about the legality of providing funds and the complexities of trying to get these funds. Leaving many to wonder understandably if the complexities are deliberate.

Now FEMA has even put up a website with available qualified rentals in the area for the thousand that need to find alternate housing than the Deathly Trailers.
The biggest problems many now face is how to qualify and how to pay for these
expensive rentals once the FEMA or HUD payments finally phase out.

Rental owners want tenants who have incomes equivalent to 3 and half times the monthly fee. Very few rentals are under $1000 a month. Jobs that can provide that kind of income are just not there.

The biggest problem here that all seem to neglect is all those pre-Katrina renters who do not qualify for assistance, who were not on any public assistance at all. But, who not only lost their homes, but their jobs, schools, medical support, many cars, and often all their possessions.

And this is just part of the deadly mix of incompetance, corruption, greed, just plain meanness, exhibited by many individuals within and without government agencies and in the private sector. A case in point, the shameful treatment of many workers who came to New Orleans, or returned to take part in the recovery and rebuilding of the city and the surrounding areas by government agencies and shameless contractors and subcontractors empowered by the suspension of laws meant to protect laborers especially those funded by government money.
Many were not paid or highly underpaid, as reported in Mother Jones, Reconstruction workers another Casualty

The 'Suborned and FEMA funded' implications, "You can work here in New Orleans, but we don't want you living here."

FEMA housing portal:

FEMA & the Deathly Trailers, Pt. I

Analysis by René O'Deay, August 27, 2007 New Orleans

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