FEMA Opens Mobile Home Parks

FEMA is getting ready to break ground in Galveston for two new mobile home parks, for people who lost their homes to Hurricane Ike. Jim Bell reports.

One mobile home park will be on Galveston island, the other on Bolivar Peninsula near High Island.  Together the two parks will have space for 104 trailers, and will house about the same number of displaced families.  FEMA spokesman Brad Craine explains why it's taken so long to make this happen.

"Trying to find a suitable place, first of all, to build a site to hold manufactured homes, or mobile homes, that was quite a task in itself. There's a lot of places that are right at water level, you know where flooding can be a problem and in a flood plain, so we had to work the locals and the state, and finally came up with a solution."

Craine says the 104 trailers that will go into these new parks are the latest FEMA has brought to Galveston for Ike victims. Several thousand families in and around Galveston are already living in FEMA trailers, and several hundred families are moving into a FEMA trailer park in Bridge City this week.  He says they know people are frustrated by the slow pace of things.

"When you have such a big disaster such as a Katrina, a Rita, and now Ike, things do work slow and I wish they were quicker. FEMA is working very close with the Governor's Division of Emergency Management and trying to come up with solutions."

Galveston is experiencing a major housing shortage because of Hurricane Ike, and Craine says FEMA is aware that a few hundred mobile homes won't do much to ease that shortage, but they're doing the best they can. 

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.