February 6, 2007
Reported by: Britney Glaser
It's been 15 months since the first FEMA travel trailer was hooked up at Burton Coliseum, but this week, the coliseum parking lot is being turned back over to McNeese and the 94 remaining travel trailers are going back to the FEMA staging area.
The 120 unit housing park has served as a home to dozens of Louisiana residents displaced by the 2005 hurricanes, and this week residents are saying farewell to this emergency housing.
One piece at a time. That's the sign of progress at the Burton Coliseum FEMA trailer park as each cement block is removed from the base of the travel trailers.
David Phillips, Director of the FEMA Field Office says, "This is just showing you that we're getting underway and people are getting back to their normal lives."
As of last week, 27 families were still living in this park, but all have been relocated to other sites in the parish. Phillips says, "We'll have to move people from time to time as we continue to consolidate and deinstall trailers. We try to be the least disruption to their livelihood or their lives."
When the units are removed from the sites, Phillips says they are then brought to a staging area where they are cleaned and made ready to re-issue to the eastern side of the state. If they are not used there, the units will be put back in storage for the next disaster.
At the height of FEMA's emergency housing assistance, the 7-parish area of Southwest Louisiana held more than 10,000 FEMA units. As of this week, 4,000 of those trailers have been deactivated.
"We keep pushing and we keep working to try to get people settled," says Phillips.
FEMA contracted two groups, SRS, Inc. and Agbayani Construction Corp. to clean out the Burton Coliseum lot.