Where are the FEMA Trailers?
When Bush visited the Gulf Coast he spent little time with the people. He did meet with business leaders who apparently gave him an earful. I bet those living in a FEMA trailer would have liked to been accorded that same opportunity. Oh wait make that living in tents.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days it's not easy to think positive in St. Bernard Parish. Not with thousands of homeless people still waiting, many of them in tents, for FEMA trailers to live in.
JOEY DIFATTA, ST. BERNARD PARISH COUNCIL: We have 6,000 folks applied for trailers in St. Bernard Parish. There are roughly 1,300 were delivered.
And just how is it going with FEMA and proverbial trailers that are on the way as in the buses were on the way.......
JACK STEPHENS, SHERIFF, ST. BERNARD PARISH: Yes. You know, Coop, I checked before I came up here. One of my senior rank was with the trailer manufacturer today. There are 6,600 requests for individual assistance in my community. Only about 750 trailers have been located and there's a location on a major state highway that is stockpiling over 1,400 trailers right now that have not been distributed. The reasons for that, I understand, is that FEMA has not paid for the trailers, and the manufacturer will not locate those mobile homes on the sites until FEMA pays for them. And they've been there for over 40 days now.
So what's a person to do? Take any trailer hostage that you can find I guess....
COOPER: And I mean, people are getting desperate. I understand you had to respond to a situation where FEMA delivered a trailer to someone who didn't order one, didn't need one, but the guy's next door neighbor sees this trailer being delivered, freaks out and padlocks himself to the trailer, and you guys had to be called. What happened then?
STEPHENS: Well, yes, he chained himself to the trailer and my deputies responded to it and negotiated a deal and guaranteed him that FEMA would deliver his trailer the next day. He made the deputies personally guarantee that they would and fortunately for all of the parties involved, the trailer was delivered. And while, you know that's somewhat of a humorous situation. It is really sad to see the desperation that exists amongst our local population with regards to getting temporary housing, just so they can try to start rebuilding their lives. I mean, there's nothing funny about that. And you know, I mean, we're starting to see a higher degree of agitation and anxiety over this. I mean, we've had a couple of suicides. And I mean, people are really at their wit's end about how to deal with their housing situation at this point.
Many who do have trailers can not use them......
If the trailer in front of Henry Clay's flooded home had power, he could spend an extra five hours each day working to repair the damaged yellow-brick ranch house in the Palm-Air neighborhood, which took on 4 feet of water.
But nearly two months after a federal contractor dumped the trailer on his front lawn, the temporary home remains locked and empty, while Clay and his wife remain at his brother-in-law's house in Harvey.
"I'm ready to unhook (the trailer) and put it in the middle of the street," he said. "That's just how angry I am about this thing."
Clay is not alone.
After waiting for months for trailers to arrive from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, scores of displaced homeowners are facing another unwelcome delay: waiting for electricity.
Times Picayune has the details