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FEMA trailers will not be available for Miami Valley tornado victims. Here’s why.

Published: Tuesday, July 09, 2019 @ 3:50 PM

Many tornado victims in the Miami Valley are still trying to find housing

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tornado victims in the Miami Valley are still scrambling to find suitable housing after storms left their homes and apartments are too damaged for living.

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Despite the destruction, temporary housing is not available from the government.

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“I find it frustrating,” said Virginia Martin. “It’s like you can’t get a break. Everybody else is in the same shoes we’re in.”
News Center 7’s Jim Otte spoke to federal agencies about why FEMA trailers — like the ones provided from victims of California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina — aren’t being brought in to the Miami Valley.

>> Tornado victims urged to go to Trotwood FEMA center for help

“They’re very small,” said Paul Ferris, FEMA representative. “You’re recertified every 30 days. Someone comes by and knocks on their door and says ‘What is the long term plan?’ So a travel trailer is just a stop-gap. You’re still going to have to have a long-term plan. You’re still going to have to find a place to live.”

The scale of the disaster in the Miami Valley is not big enough compared to others and the feds estimate there is enough affordable housing available to meet the needs of the people here.

One way that FEMA is helping is with short-term financial help.

“For renters we usually provide two months rent in advance,” said Ferris.

Tornado victims can apply for more rent money if necessary, but it’s still short-term.

>> Nearly $2.3M in SBA loans approved to help with tornado recovery

Ferris said he feels sorry for the people who have lost their home or can no longer live in their apartment, but FEMA is trying to help as best as they can.

Anyone who is still having issues with housing may have to come back to a disaster recovery center to talk with FEMA and explore other options.