Fourteen emergency trailers in the Keys are up and running, but remain empty of people.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency-owned trailers are in the Key by the Sea condo complex at mile marker 50.5 oceanside in Marathon.
According to the community association manager who did not want to be named, FEMA approached the park as a site for trailers in October after Category 4 Hurricane Irma left thousands of Keys residents homeless.
“So we did everything we could do to get it ready, fixed up the pads and FEMA leased them and we brought in everyone we could,” the manager said.
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There are 38 families living in FEMA trailers at Key by the Sea, yet 14 trailers are empty, with the lights on and air conditioning running, he said.
“We aren’t even able to access the unit” to turn off the utilities, he said.
According to FEMA spokesman John Mills, a small number of unoccupied trailers are being kept open in the Keys in case an occupied unit needs to be replaced.
“FEMA has about 10 unoccupied trailers at Keys by the Sea in Marathon. As a safety measure, we keep the lights on so the trailers don’t look abandoned. We leave the air conditioning on to keep the air circulating,” he said. “FEMA technical monitors personally check on the condition of the trailers about three times a week to make sure they are still in new condition.
Also, all eligible residents in need have been housed, Mills said.
Countywide, 216 households are living in FEMA trailers on commercial and private sites, while an additional 28 households are living in places directly leased by FEMA, he said.
In the Keys, FEMA has provided $61.2 million in grants to homeowners and renters for damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Statewide, $983 million has been provided, he said.
All FEMA housing programs are temporary and not meant to be long-term solutions. Those being housed are checked on periodically to see the progress they are making to obtain more permanent housing.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219