The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that it would allow hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast still living in government-supplied trailers to buy their temporary homes for as little as $1.
The government also will provide $50 million to help other trailer residents, whose homes were destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, move into rental or public housing.
The assistance comes just a few days after the official start of the 2009 hurricane season and one month after FEMA announced that it was ending the temporary housing program it launched in the aftermath of Katrina.
The more than 3,400 people still living in FEMA trailers in Louisiana and Mississippi had faced eviction.
“We were going to have another homeless crisis on our hands,” said Laura Tuggle, of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, a free legal aid program in New Orleans. “The fear among people was that one day they were going to come back to the trailer they had been living in and it would just be gone. There was so much anxiety.”
The sale of the trailers will mark the official end to FEMA’s most expensive emergency housing program. The agency provided more than 143,000 households with temporary housing units in the wake of the hurricanes.