FEMA Working To Move More Than 10,000 Residents

Marilyn Vereen says a CDC representative came knocking at her door yesterday with results from formaldehyde tests taken on her FEMA trailer last month.

"She let us know that it was 43 percent," says Vereen.

The Vereen's trailer fell within the medium range, a range FEMA recognized could be unsafe for Vereen and her husband.

"We got a phone call from FEMA saying it was going to put us up in a hotel.'"

Vereen says it could not have come soon enough.

"Before we came to the trailer, I didn't even have bronchitis, but I developed bronchitis from being in the trailer."

Sidney Melton, the director for Mississippi's transitional recovery says, for now, the program is set up on a voluntary system.  Melton says 65 families out of the one thousand they've contacted have agreed to move into hotels.  In addition to hotels, he says FEMA has about 3,000 rental units throughout the state.

"FEMA is going to pay full until September then at that point the applicant would have to pay $50.00 a month."

Melton says, if necessary, FEMA will also cover transportation costs and help FEMA residents with animals find kennels if hotels or rental units won't allow them.  But, Melton says it's important for residents to be thinking about their long-term relocating plans.

"At the end of the day the housing program is going to end.  As with everybody, they need to be working toward what they're housing plan will be.  We're here to help them. Help us help you."

Vereen and her husband already have a plan in place.  They're almost ready to move back into their newly repaired home and move on with their lives.

Melton says FEMA is placing the elderly, those with health conditions and young children first in hotels or rental units. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will hold a series of sessions across the coast for people to talk one-on-one with CDC scientists.

  • Monday, March 3rd - Pearlington Recovery Center: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Monday, March 3rd - St. Rose de Lima (Bay St. Louis): 6p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 4th - Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church (Pass Christian, MS): 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 4th - West Harrison Civic Center (Long Beach, MS): 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 5th - Episcopal Church of the Redeemer (Biloxi, MS): 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 6p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 6th - Moss Point Riverfront Center: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.