FEMA Meets Move-Out Deadline

BILOXI (WLOX) -- It's been almost three years since Hurricane Katrina now a portion of federal housing assistance has come to an end.

Sunday was FEMA's deadline to close many of its temporary housing sites.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina 42 FEMA trailer parks were erected throughout south Mississippi. Now as the three year anniversary of the storm quickly approaches, almost all of those parks are gone.

"The June 1st deadline was a deadline that we imposed to close the emergency group sites or eg-sites as we call them," said FEMA Spokeswoman Marcia Hill.

When formaldehyde levels in travel trailers soared above CDC standards, FEMA set June 1st as the target move out date. However, Hill says FEMA beat its deadline and by May 16th all of the parks were closed and everyone was relocated.

There are still eight mobile home parks throughout South Mississippi but by December 31st, FEMA will close those parks too.

"Housing has been and still is the major major challenge. Affordable housing. Affordable rentals," Hill said.

Colleen O'Neal knows about those challenges. Both she and her husband are disabled and still living in one of the few FEMA mobile home parks.

"I called crying. I said I just need some assistance. I've done everything I can do," O'Neal said.

She says she's followed all the rules and filled out all the paperwork.

"We're looking in Biloxi, Saucier, Wiggins. We're open to any area in the lower six counties. Just need some help," said O'Neal.

O'Neal is now worried come December 31st, she will be homeless again.

FEMA says that's not the case.

"We stress this over and over, we are not putting people on the street. No one is going to be made homeless because they are being kicked out of a FEMA trailer or FEMA rental accommodation," said Hill.

However, the South Mississippi woman is hoping it won't be long before she finds a permanent place to call home.

FEMA says that there are still some travel trailers on private property. However, if you are in a travel trailer and are having any problems or suspect high formaldehyde levels you can call 866-562-2381.