Gulfport To Consider FEMA Trailer Extension

The clock is ticking for hundreds of Gulfport residents who are still living in FEMA trailers . A city imposed deadline to get rid of trailers on private properties is July 31, 2007. Gulfport has more than 1,700 FEMA trailers scattered around the city. About 770 of those trailers belong to homeowners who still can't get back into their hurricane damaged properties.

Tuesday, the city council will discuss if those people should get a FEMA trailer extension.

FEMA trailer dwellers like Tom Hammack favor the extension.

"They've got to realize that they've got thousands of people along here that don't have a place to live," said Hammack.

Hammack had to move into a FEMA trailer two months after Katrina decimated his Fournier Avenue home.

"I want out of there as soon as we can," said Hammack.

Thanks to hard working volunteer groups, Hammack is about two weeks away from getting his wish. However, that's two weeks after the city of Gulfport's FEMA trailer deadline.

"They've got to do something about it because we're not ready to get back into the house. And they've got to take care of us," thought Hammack.

At least three Gulfport councilmen say their colleagues really have no choice. Gary Hollimon, Jackie Smith and Brian Carriere said an extension was inevitable.  When they meet Tuesday, they believe the council will have to give Gulfport families more time to stay in their FEMA trailers, so they have more time to finish their rebuilding work.

"That is correct," said ward one councilman Hollimon.

The council office has a map that shows where all 1,735 of the city's FEMA trailers are located. Council members like Hollimon want the trailers to go away as soon as possible. But he thinks a Tuesday deadline is impractical.

"I do know for fact that some of the citizens in ward one are trying to get back on their feet," said Hollimon.

Ward two councilwoman Libby Milner Roland says those are the people she'd be willing to help.  But she thinks that should be determined on a case by case basis.

Tom Hammack thinks his case is a no brainer.  He's almost done with his work.  Plus, he has a wife who needs medical assistance.  Hammack is counting on the council to do the right thing.

"They best, because there's going to be a bunch of people that need it," the Fournier Avenue resident said.

The Gulfport City Council will discuss the FEMA trailer deadline at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon. At that meeting, the council will also hear another recommendation about where Mississippi cottages should be set up. When the council initially talked about the cottages last week, there was a lot of confusion and disagreement about the Mississippi cottage program.