Monday, December 10, 2007

FEMA Trailer Survey Project Report Released

Report on the FEMA Trailer Survey Project Conducted in March 2007: Executive Summary

A major difficulty in assisting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailer residents in the Gulf Coast has been a lack of understanding the issues, legal or otherwise, that these residents face. During the week of March 12-16th, 2007, over 150 law students from 18 law schools interviewed residents from 557 trailers in New Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, as well as residents living in the Renaissance Trailer Park outside of Baton Rouge . This project was fully coordinated and carried out by law student volunteers through the Student Hurricane Network (SHN).

Over the course of the survey, residents cited various obstacles that prevented them from moving out of their trailers including an inability to fix their home, having no place to stay other than the trailer, and issues involving mental health, physical health, Medicare, disabilities, and crime. Nearly half of the residents reported major problems with their FEMA trailer including leaks, health problems, mold, cockroaches, and lack of handicap access. Most trailer residents were homeowners who were living in trailers situated on their own land. Although almost half of the trailer residents were employed, most could not afford the rising post-Katrina rents and/or gain access to adequate funds for rebuilding.

Today, more than 8 months later, FEMA trailer residents still struggle to meet their basic needs such as permanent housing, transportation, healthcare, and legal services. The goal of this report is to share the analysis of the data gathered in March 2007 with the hopes of providing a catalyst for future volunteerism and other activities aimed at working with FEMA trailer residents, a group that is often too marginalized and largely ignored post-Katrina.

Stay tuned for the full report . . .