FEMA asks Hurricane Ike trailer residents to pay up

Legal news for Texas government attorneys. Displaced Hurricane Ike residents who are living in FEMA trailers will have to start paying rent.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is ending the Temporary Housing Program and is asking Galveston County trailer residents to start paying rent.

Houston, TX—In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) http://www.fema.gov issued 782 trailers to the displaced residents of Galveston County, whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged from the storm. Eighteen months later, the Temporary Housing Program is set to expire, which has left rent notices in the trailer occupant’s mailboxes, as reported by Click2Houston.com.

Out of the 782 issued trailers, 225 are still in use. When the Temporary Housing Program expires on April 1, they will be expected to pay rent every month. FEMA reported, “The Temporary Housing Program was supposed to expire March 12…but we pushed it back to July because of the state’s request. We continue to work with families, the state, and nonprofit organizations to help them in any way we can to return to permanent housing.” Letters have been sent out to the residents of Galveston Island, one of the hardest hit places, who are still living in the temporary housing.

One displaced resident, Mary Colunga, stated “I don’t have electricity, running water, no walls, if I could move back in here I would. This is my home, my rock. This was my father’s house. It’s paid for. My family grew up here.” Colunga is now living a trailer just a few feet from her original house. This is common among many of the residents who don’t have any choice but to live in the trailer. Colunga is one of the people who have received two rent letters from FEMA, one stating she will have to pay $800 a month and the other said around $300 per month.

The displaced residents are now scrambling to figure out what to do with their often cash stripped budget and ongoing battle with insurance companies to get their house back in a safe living condition.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Texas government lawyers.