FEMA auctions disaster trailers after 18 months of use - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

FEMA auctions disaster trailers after 18 months of use

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Hundreds of Harvey victims are still waiting for a trailer or mobile home to live in. But it was recently reported that used and damaged trailers are auctioned off after 18 months of use. 

Jann Tracey, a FEMA representative, says that safety and cost are the main reasons why homes are auctioned.

"FEMA has to consider what is safe, and what is sanitary, and that's our priority," Tracey said. "We have to do that. We can't say, 'okay, you can live in this because you want to,' even though we think it's not sanitary."

FEMA says used trailers could receive substantial damage, making the home uninhabitable. Damages could include mold, broken or dirty furniture, pet odors, or smoke damage. However, FEMA realizes the frustration this could cause for Harvey victims still living without a home.

"It's tough for people," Tracey said. "And they shake their heads and scratch their heads, and say 'why?' But if we tell you that trailer has mold in it and that mold can be dangerous, we can't be responsible for that."

FEMA adds that it is also more cost effective to build new trailers, than to transport them to another disaster-hit area.

In addition, FEMA says at the end of the 18-month period of using units, many lose their value.

"That period of time is when we found that there's probably enough damage, probably it's been moved enough times, that it doesn't really have any value left in it," Tracey said.

Because of the magnitude of the storm, FEMA saw the need for housing was large, and stopped sales for nearly two months. After hurricane Harvey, the agency reviewed all of the trailers up for sale, to see if they could be re-used. Some were repaired and will be used in Texas, and others were auctioned. FEMA finished those inspections and resumed sales in November.

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