Over a hundred Iowa families who lost their homes in flooding back in the summer of 2008 are still living in mobile homes provided by the government. They were facing eviction, but got a reprieve late Friday when the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the 122 Iowa families who still live in a FEMA trailer can stay in the home for seven more months.
Crystal Payton, a FEMA spokesperson, says the program is designed to provide housing for a year and a half, but it’s not uncommon for the program to be extended in “cold-weather” states like Iowa. “So many of our big disaster events occur in the spring that the 18-month window of the housing program generally leaves us ending the program as winter approaches,” she says, “which is obviously not a good situation.” The Iowans who’re living in FEMA trailers now have until June 27th to find permanent housing.
“There are something like 53 families, I think, who have school-aged children,” Payton says. “So, rather than disrupt them during the school year, it seemed reasonable and humane to extend the program.” However, the agency will begin charging rent starting November 27th.
The floods struck in June of 2008 and, at its highest point last year, there were 564 Iowa families living in a FEMA trailer.
“So, in our eyes, the program is working well because people have used it (as a) temporary, focus on temporary, housing program,” Payton says. Iowans can buy the FEMA trailers if they meet certain criteria. So far, two families have completed that process.