"While FEMA has 8,420 brand new, fully furnished, never-used mobile homes in a cow pasture in Hope, Arkansas, they refuse to provide the people from Desha, Back Gate and Dumas counties with help. This is crazy," said Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.). "If this is the new and improved FEMA, I don't want any part of it."
The unused units are among thousands that are rusting in depots at 13 locations nationwide. Many of them were part of a $900 million purchase of 26,300 mobile and modular homes. FEMA officials later realized that, under agency rules, those homes could not be used in flood zones, where nearly all storm victims lived. In other cases, local communities refused to host large trailer encampments, saddling FEMA with a surplus.
About 90,000 FEMA units are occupied by storm victims. FEMA will decide soon how many trailers the agency will keep on hand for future disasters and how many it will sell, [Deborah Wing] said. Those eligible for sale are the ones that require more than $1,500 to refurbish.
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