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FEMA trailer program ending in the Keys March 10

Christine King in August 2018 sits in front of her FEMA trailer that replaced the home she lost to Hurricane Irma’s wrath on Big Pine Key.
Christine King in August 2018 sits in front of her FEMA trailer that replaced the home she lost to Hurricane Irma’s wrath on Big Pine Key. pportal@miamiherald.com.

Travel trailers distributed by the federal government across the Florida Keys in the wake of Hurricane Irma will disappear from the island chain in two months, when the program ends after a year and a half.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration will begin hand delivering “end of program” notices to FEMA trailer dwellers starting Saturday. The direct temporary housing assistance program ends March 10.

“Any survivor currently in a FEMA unit, owner or renter will receive an End of Program Letter,” a FEMA spokesman said Friday. “There is no extension for the end of the program.”

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Monroe County

“Over 70 percent of the 318 Collier, Lee, Hendry and Monroe County applicants who received Direct Housing assistance have found long-term solutions and have moved out of their units,” according to a FEMA statement.

In December, FEMA began delivering 15-day “warning notice of violation” letters telling occupants what steps they must take to find permanent housing. If the occupant fails to have a plan, FEMA will issue a notice-of-revocation.

By Jan. 10, the end-of-program letters will be delivered to the remaining occupants.

The trailers will be auctioned off on GSAAuctions.gov, which on Friday was offline due to the federal government shutdown.

Irma slammed into the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017, destroying or severely damaging some 4,000 homes.

As of Dec. 26, 2018, there were 63 households living in the trailers in the Keys and 12 households living in FEMA direct-leased properties, according to the county’s website.

“This is down from the original 243 households (215 in travel trailers and 28 in direct-leased properties) who have stayed temporarily in housing supplied by FEMA,” the website states.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.


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