A spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says the number of Iowans living in temporary trailers has dropped below 200. Crystal Payton says people continue moving into permanent housing and that’s exactly how the temporary housing program is supposed to work.
"We consider this quite a milestone for the numbers to go below 200…at our peak there were 564 families and individuals housed in these housing units," Payton says. She says that peak came in October of last year. There were 197 people in the temporary trailers as of Tuesday (August 18th). Payton says a majority of the trailers were in Linn County and the Cedar Rapids area.
Those living in the temporary trailers were sent information in May of this year on how they could buy the trailers. Payton says some people are still considering that option. Payton says they don’t know how many will be purchased, as a number of people have expressed interest, but she does not believe an sales have been completed. Payton says those who remain in the trailers can do so for free through November 27th.
Payton says the program does offer them a chance to seek an extension to stay in the trailers after the November deadline, but she says they could then be charged rent to live there. Payton says the trailers that are no longer occupied will be used again or sold. She says they pull the trailers back to a staging area where they are cleaned up and if they are still usable, sent to another staging area for use in another disaster.
Payton says if the trailers are considered excess property and not longer needed, then they are sent to a government auction site.