Some mobile homes brought in by FEMA to house flood victims still sit empty four months after Hurricane Harvey.
Dorothy Anderson, 82, is slowly rebuilding her home in Dickinson while living in it.
“You have to do it slowly because it’s super costly,” Anderson said.
Meanwhile, a mobile home delivered by FEMA sits empty and unused in her front yard.
“I’ve never been in there,” Anderson said.
Anderson says she could have really used the trailer when it first arrived about six weeks ago.
“I think the only thing this did, having this thing out there, was just destroy my grass,” Anderson said.
Several of Anderson’s neighbors are living in their FEMA trailers. One down the street is even decorated for the holidays.
“I think that it wasn’t as much as FEMA not doing their work as them just being overloaded,” Anderson said.
Less than half of families approved for trailers in Galveston County have actually moved in.
“Every single unit has to be inspected and approved by FEMA before each of those families can move in,” said FEMA spokesman Tobe Nguyen. “Even though they have been installed on site already.”
The permitting process can take time and contractors are needed to hook up utilities. We saw workmen at Anderson’s house when we arrived.
But she says other crews have come and gone a number of times.
“I don’t even need to live in it now,” Anderson said.
FEMA says each case is different. In this case, Anderson’s trailer may have been a waste of time and money.
A spokesman says they can be relocated and reused when a family no longer needs it.
Here’s additional information from FEMA:
"Currently there are 340 Households in Galveston County determined to be eligible for Direct Housing Assistance; 71 Units have been Licensed-In. Several factors contribute to a perceived lack of occupancy to include permitting process, coordination with applicant thru the licensed-in process to hand over keys, several applicants have deferred to complete the License-In until the first of the year, difficulties to obtain power (“RFE” – Ready for Energy) due to arrears on applicants’ electric account. Some set-up work such as septic, leveling, building stairs, etc., requires power at the site.
"The current cost to License-In and have applicant live in the unit is $94,000. This does not include any peripheral post-occupancy costs to include maintenance, case management and reacquiring/selling unit at the end of the 18 month Direct Housing Program."
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