Biloxi development director: It's time for FEMA trailers to go

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi's community development director believes people have had long enough to rebuild their homes. So next week, Jerry Creel will present a resolution to the Biloxi City Council that ends the city's temporary exception for emergency housing.

Biloxi still has 71 temporary FEMA trailers and mobile homes within its city limits. Creel said several of them are sitting on lots that haven't been rebuilt since Katrina blasted through Biloxi.

A few salvaged bricks sit on a slab at Redding Street and Keller Avenue.  At the corner of that lot is a FEMA trailer that Creel says needs to go.

"It's time. It's been almost four years," he said. "We feel that anyone who is not, has not found a permanent place to live now, is probably not trying."

After working with families for almost four years to find ways to rebuild, Creel said it's evident to him that people in the city's last remaining FEMA dwellings have no intention of leaving them.

"Hurricane season here on top of us.  We've got to do something to end it," he said.

The trailer on Redding Street belongs to Chuck Rogers.

"Man it's terrible. I mean you're in a tin box," he said.

Rogers is working with the Hope Coordination Center to design a new home for his lot.  So the last thing he wants is a deadline to move the trailer.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can, and build to the future," he said.

However, Creel said if a trailer doesn't comply with a neighborhood's zoning regulations, his resolution requires it to be moved.

A woman who lives on Brady Drive said she'd rather stay put to protect the property.  However, her family is prepared to relocate to a trailer park if the city council follows Creel's recommendation.

Creel hopes others are just as accommodating.

"Every year when hurricane season rolls around, we continue to expose people in campers and trailers to these surges, storm surges and velocity winds," he said.  "We need to clean it up."

If Biloxi councilmen vote next week to end the emergency housing exceptions, trailers must be removed from private properties by August 9.  Creel said the only place they'd still be allowed would be in mobile home parks.

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