That’s basically the choice FEMA is giving to New Orleans residents who still live in the “temporary” trailers. First, it is absolutely insane that there are approximately 8,515 “temporary” trailers still in use in New Orleans, two and a half years after Hurricane Katrina. Truly an outrage.
What’s even more outrageous is that there is now a concern about formaldehyde fumes in the trailers. Testing has shown that people living in the trailers are exposed to about five times the amount of formaldehyde as people in traditional homes. FEMA would like to get everyone out of the trailers and into hotels and apartments in the area by the summer, when the effect of the fumes would be greater. Mayor Ray Nagin wrote a letter to President Bush this week asking that FEMA hold off on moving people out of the trailers. He says that New Orleans does not have the available infrastructure to take in the trailer residents, which would mean people being moved outside of the city , which would mean yet another displacement for his constituents.
What kind of bizarro world is New Orleans? Why can’t we get this right? Two and a half years and still no noteworthy ground breaking? Two and a half years and still no creative, well-resourced, multi-agency solution to affordable housing? There’s a very simple (sounding) solution to this. Build quality, permanent, mixed-income housing. Voila, folks have safe, affordable homes to call their own.
Do something good before you leave office, Dubya.