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March 29th, 2010
07:27 AM ET

FEMA Says Pay Up for Your Trailer

Eighteen months ago, Hurricane Ike tore up Galveston, Texas. Today, hundreds of residents are still living in FEMA trailers. FEMA was supposed to get rid of the trailers in March. Now that deadline’s been moved to July. But FEMA says it’ll charge rent until then. They’re basing the rent on what people could get from tourists before Ike hit. That means up to $1600, for a FEMA trailer.

FEMA says it’s following the law. But lots of residents are still waiting for insurance payments to come through or for contractors to finish work on their houses. They say this adds insult to injury.

What do you think? Paying rent on a FEMA trailer – fair or unfair?

Post your comments here. Kyra will read some of them on the air in the 10am ET hour of Newsroom.

Filed under: Kyra Phillips
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. masimons

    It should be against the law for any insurance company to take longer than 3months to pay a claim.
    Otherwise paying rent could be justifiable, but would be at the range of $150/month for that filmsy trailer.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  2. crab fisherman from washington state

    If the ones who were in need of housing were victims of a earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, or political unrest in any country other than the U.S. help would have been ther along time ago. We can spend millions helping other countries, spend $500 billion a year in Iraqnam and Vietghanistan, and not help our own cirizens to regain what they lost in a disaster here three years ago. When are we going to help Americans and the citizens of the United States First?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  3. Dan

    Since FEMA is a government agency, the taxpayers have already paid for the trailers. I say the government is out of line to have tennants pay rent.
    What are our tax dollars being used for if they want to charge rent?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  4. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    FEMA should be patient and not be demanding money. Its not the residents fault insurance moneys haven't come in. Those people are under enough deress as it is. Whats the holdup with the money?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  5. Carl

    Republicans spent Billions of our tax dollars MONTHLY on wars we didn't want and had 12 years to do something about health care but just didn't want to. These people who suffered a horrific disaster in Katrina should be given these trailers FREE without obligation of any kind. I wouldn't mind some of our tax money diverted to help them first instead of sending it to foreign countries.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  6. michael armstrong sr.

    It all dependes on how much formaldihyde there built with and by the why when is fema going to pay the tax payers back the money from Katrine and those trailer houses that couldnt be used .

    March 29, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  7. gercart

    their's nothing wrong with charging rent(got to say sorry for the spelling and grammer) it's the amount. The gov is so messed up we can't do thing's on the cheap everybody wants a cut got people who move the trailers, set up, build, store ,clean, guard,leaes, and mangement and other we don't even no about so you can't ajust cost to what it cost tax payer's the gov takein your money and speading it stuipdly to creat job's this happens on every project the gov. is involed with that way a 5.00 toilet seat cost 150.00 buck's we paid A-Z frist take from the rich give to the poor is not the way to go giving bred's comtemp people get to feel bad about their self so they trun it around and think they got it coming soner or later they'er going to vote us in to the poor house a wise man said and we all know who (give a man a fish you feed him for a day teach a man to fish feed him for a life time ) it also make a man proud to provide for his family so let start putting the money in children teach them right in small controlable envroment not the massive schools we have now in the old days one room school one teacher 40 student but the teacher was hired by the parent they knew each other a kid didn't have a chance so we have to find a way to bring back the community working together it's and awesome job God help and bless the one that figure's it out.

    March 29, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  8. Jessica

    It's unfair to ask a victim of a natural disaster to not only worry about how they are going to get their life back and how they are going to maintain a job in this sick ecomony, but to also say "hey we're the government and we're here to help you, but while we're helping you, you have to pay us." That's lame (for lack of better words).

    I understand, better than most, that the goverenment doesn't have any money right now. I understand that they are trying to fix it and make it right. But making these people pay rent is not the least not morally.

    But since when is this country run by morals? it's run by money. Money that taxpayers pay only to get nothing. Nothing but a letter from FEMA that says "we're gonna help, but pay us first."

    March 29, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  9. Constitutional Patriot

    FEMA trailers are already PAID FOR! Don't charge a fee to use what WE already BOUGHT. Sanction the insurance losers to pay up NOW. If FEMA wants to charge rent, DON'T pay it. Burn those lousy piles of junk if they want them back!

    March 29, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  10. Nathan Hawks

    Is anybody really surprised that FEMA's forgotten these people are victims, not clients in a scam scheme?

    March 29, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  11. Jackson

    FEMA is a terrorist organization.

    March 29, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  12. scott

    I believe they should pay rent for the trailors. I don't believe it should be a bunch of money though. If you don't want to pay to live in the trailor move out then. Yes the trailors were already paid for, but doesn't mean that they shouldn't get some money back on them, they shouldn't make a profit on the trailor. That is one of the main problems with amercia today they think the goverment is suppose to take care of them, people need to learn to take care of themselves.

    March 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  13. Angel

    Yes it is sad. But how many years ago are we talking about Free Rental living.?
    Weren't these the same people who tried to base their experience with the experience of the Katrina victims?

    I do remember how they claimed that they handled themselves better in the first day and second day after their experience.

    But just how many victims of galveston's hurrican were literally deliberately deserted by the Republican Administration for almost an entire week, while gangs of prisoners escaped from prison and were killing people left and right, and the police of the citiy across the bridge gave the victims no refuge but threatened to shoot the victims if they dare cross the bridge, Which was what happened to the Katrina victims.

    But just how many people got Free Rent from the federal government for how long in Galveston? And How many of the Galveston people tea partiers? Isn't that considered hyppocritical?

    Just how many people of Katrina got Free Rent from the federal government for the Same amount of time?

    March 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  14. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    Shame on the insurance industry. When your premiums are due they expect payment or have your insurance canceled. This is going on for almost 5 years so it's time to pay up plus interest for the delay in those overdue payments.

    March 30, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  15. Katrina Volunteer

    I completely understand the outrage as the story has been reported. I would encourage CNN to report FEMA's position. I have direct knowledge of this issue, having worked and lived for three months as a volunteer (September to December 2005) in southeastern Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    What has not been reported fully, however, is that these trailers were meant to be a temporary solution, not free housing for over four and one-half years. These were meant to be used only until April 1, 2006. Clearly the disaster response was so inadequate, the temporary housing (not only trailers, but FEMA renting out entire hotels or B & B's to provide victims with housing) was extended time and again, for an additional FOUR years.

    As someone who is currently unemployed, drawing unemployment that is 14% of my salary (not even enough to buy groceries, let alone pay my mortgage) I would LOVE to have the USG give me rent-free housing for four and one-half years.

    Please report the other side of the story. I have the utmost sympathy for victims of these disasters. I know, from being down in that area, however, that companies were begging people to come to work to rebuild, including paying $5,000 hiring bonuses (at Burger King no less!).

    Thanks for the great show, Kyra!

    March 30, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  16. Katrina Volunteer

    Whoops, sorry....I didn't read that this was in Galveston. My mistake!!!

    March 30, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  17. Charley Twodogs

    Uncle Sam takes such good care of his people. Ha-ha-ha Does anyone else besides me, see this nation circling the drain? Who was it, and when was it said? "Mountains and empires crumble, there are no exceptions". Look it up, it may surprise you.

    March 30, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  18. CC

    I am disgusted with FEMA and the federal government. Has the federal government forgotten who paid for and own those trailers? WE, THE PEOPLE, paid for and own those trailers, so why the hell should the OWNER of property pay someone else 'rent' to use it?

    This is just ridiculous and I hope the people of Galveston, and others around the country who are aware of this, make it known to the media and the government that we the people are not in the business of financing a 'property rental business' for the government.

    Remember, we own them (the government), not the other way around. The government is supposed to do 'our' bidding, not the other way around.

    March 30, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  19. Timothy Davis Ford

    My son was tormented in elementary school. He had a learning disability, wore braces and had coke-bottle thick glasses. A perfect target for schoolhouse bullies. He was ostracized from the rest of the class by a teacher and made to sit alone next to her desk, making things even worse. It was a parents nightmare. Thankfully he survived all this, became an Eagle Scout, is graduating from Berklee School of Music this year, and is a well adjusted young adult. My heart goes out to all kids like him and I want to tell them there is hope.

    March 30, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  20. wade

    I just dont understand why Government would do that when the insurance companies are at fault. A year and half and no money from insurance. Come on. Maybe we need other kinds of insurance refom also.

    March 30, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  21. Axtionjaxon

    It's time to move on or pay up. The right wingers in this country wouldn't have it any other way. Opps, I meant to say Republicans.

    March 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm |