Nearly 18 months after Katrina, FEMA trailers still speckle the streets of Pascagoula. Many are parked in front of homes with residents busy rebuilding. For others, like Dewayne Broughton, FEMA parks have been a saving grace.
"It has been helping me out a great deal," Broughton says.
Zoning laws actually prohibit trailers from being in residential lots but the city suspended that law in 6-month increments. Councilman Mike Mangum, who still lives in his trailer, says when the suspension runs out on February 28th, the council plans to extend that. But instead of extending it 6 months, they'll set it for 60 days.
"In this 60 day period, we're going to ask residents that are in trailers to come in, give us some information that will help us aid the governor in his alternative housing program. Finding out how much longer they're going to be in their trailer, how close are they to getting back, are they going to need some more assistance in longer terms," Mangum says.
According to Mangum, these permits will help Pascagoula monitor recovery, so when the May 1st deadline rolls around, the council can better gauge how long to allow trailers in the city limits.
"We knew it was going to be a period of time, but we didn't want to just put it out there and say okay for the next five years you can do this," Mangum says.
So trailer-bound residents like Dewayne Broughton can trust their temporary home isn't going anywhere just yet.
"We're not looking to put anybody out, if they need a trailer, we want them to have a trailer. We just want to know they are working to rebuilding," Mangum says.
Mangum says beginning in March Pascagoula residents should stop by the Planning and Building office on 14th Street to apply for the permit. It's free, but Mangum says residents must fill it out to help the city understand how far they've come since Katrina, and what areas still need work.