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FEMA Works to Move Evacuees Out of Trailer Homes

In the second in a series of reports on Gulf Coast housing problems, Betty Ann Bowser examines FEMA's plans to find more permanent housing for hurricane evacuees who have spent months living in trailers.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next, our second story on the Katrina trailers. Last night, we reported on problems of high formaldehyde levels in travel trailers used on the Gulf Coast. Tonight, Betty Ann Bowser updates the government's plan to move Katrina evacuees out of the trailers.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Paris Williams was scrambling last week to move out of her FEMA trailer near Baton Rouge. Like tens of thousands of Louisiana residents who lost their homes to Katrina, Williams had been living in the trailer for two years.

    FEMA has moved families out of 122,000 trailers and mobile homes so far and had planned to have everyone out by this year's hurricane season. But last month, people were told they should move out as soon as possible.

    That's when the Centers for Disease Control said the agency had confirmed unsafe levels of formaldehyde in some of the units. The chemical is found in materials used to make the trailers.

    After searching for weeks, Williams finally found a house, but she's not happy with it.

  • PARIS WILLIAMS:

    When we find the house, and then they still will give you all these rules. They really don't want you in the houses, first of all. It's bad coming from New Orleans. We had to leave from Katrina. Katrina ain't harm us. It's the after effect of Katrina that's harming us.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Williams' neighbor, Judy Bartholamew, is still looking.

  • JUDY BARTHOLAMEW:

    For two weeks, I spent over $500 on gas, borrowing people's cars, don't have no transportation, and I got an 86-year-old mother in there that's sick. We have to be close to a hospital, and they're trying to make us move. We have nowhere to go.

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