FEMA parks prepare to close

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By the start of the new year, FEMA says all of its mobile home parks will be closed once and for all; however, many of those parks aren't waiting until the last minute.

Residents in Biloxi's Ellzey Park say their location will close by November 14.

"I'm one of the last few that are here," said Carol Kirby.

Kirby is amongst nearly 40 families who still live in the FEMA park even as the move-out date quickly approaches.

"It's so bad. They want them out of here by next Friday period. No ifs, ands or buts," Kirby said.

The women say they received notice that they must move to a FEMA recommended hotel by November 14th.

"I would rather wait until the very last minute to move," Kirby said.

Just days ago, Kirby secured a duplex under her Section 8 plan but some of her neighbors haven't been so lucky.

"I hate that I'm on disability, and I hate that I don't have the money to do what I need to do," said Colleen O'Neal.

In June, we introduced you to O'Neal, a South Mississippi woman who's taking care of herself and her disabled husband.

"They gave him six months in May," O'Neal said.

She says her husband's health is quickly deteriorating from a liver disease, and she says added stress from FEMA isn't helping.

The O'Neals blame delays from MDA for having them stuck in their FEMA trailer, but in a matter of days, the place they've called home for two years will no longer be an option.

FEMA plans to have the remaining parks closed by December 31st, but FEMA leaders want to re-assure residents that they will not be left homeless.

The agency is continuing its effort to help families either find new homes or put them in hotels, for now.

FEMA is also offering rental assistance to those who qualify. That program will end in March of 2009.