Pressure Mounts for FEMA As Deadlines Loom - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pressure Mounts for FEMA As Deadlines Loom

FEMA's mission in Mississippi has changed. After struggling to get storm victims into temporary housing, FEMA is working overtime to get them out.

"We are working aggressively everyday with our rental resource team, trying to find rental units," said Sid Melton, Mississippi's FEMA Operations Director. 

Sid Melton is FEMA's chief in Mississippi. With 17,500 trailers still in use, cities and counties pushing to get FEMA trailers out and concerns over formaldehyde levels, Melton has orders to move fast.

"It's a sense of urgency," Melton said.

FEMA says more rental units are becoming available now, but high deposits and monthly rent make some apartments out of reach.

"If FEMA assistance is needed to get in that unit, whether it be additional monies needed or we need help with deposits through our volunteer agencies, we're putting them in the mix as well," Melton said.

The 23 months since Katrina is the longest time in U.S. history that the government has had to provide disaster housing. Complaints about formaldehyde lead to Congress to call for extensive trailer testing, but that process is just beginning. No official testing has been done yet, and Melton's not yet sure what will be done with the results.

"We're not really sure yet what path, but I know we're developing some action plan. If it's a problem with the travel trailer they're in, to assist them, whether it be swapping out to a mobile home, if a city or county allows it, or helping them transition into a rental unit," Melton said.

By Toni Miles 

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