Saturday, December 23, 2006

Lord, I’m too tall to live in a FEMA trailer: Apparently, it’s only taken more than a year for FEMA to get its act together and start finding ways to replace the trailers that will for generations be synonymous with hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The new housing will be, to say the least, housing, although it will still be disaster-relief housing, i.e., easy to assemble and prefabricated. Unstated in the article is that the trailers should probably be incinerated after the hurricane, as a symbol of disastrous federal incompetence. But somebody still doesn’t get it in Washington: Louisiana is only getting $75 million, versus $280 million for Mississippi. From the Times:

The program will offer new housing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to thousands of families, among the 100,000 still living in trailers across the Gulf Coast, by placing them over the coming year in these studier, roomier, better ventilated homes, many of which have front porches, large windows and even small attics.

Mississippi came out on top in the contest for the grants, receiving $280.8 million, compared with $74.5 million for Louisiana, $16.5 million for Texas and $15.7 million for Alabama.

Officials in Louisiana were furious, saying their state, which suffered the greatest losses in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year, had been shortchanged.


The grants come from an appropriation in which Congress directed FEMA to take an alternative approach to the customary trailers. The biggest single grant will finance the construction of units in Mississippi that look like A-roofed cottages, featuring a compact front porch, windows on three sides, more storage space and better ventilation. Like the existing trailers, they will be set up on wheels, so they can be driven into a disaster zone.

Louisiana officials, meanwhile, intend to use their grant to build what they are calling Katrina Cottages — compact single-family homes made of prefabricated panels, with a porch and up to three bedrooms — in heavily hit areas of New Orleans like Jackson Barracks.

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