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FEMA Wants Trailer Residents To Pay

Eighteen months after the storm there are 225 trailers left, and according to Ray Perez from FEMA, rent will be due starting April 1.

"The Temporary Housing Program was supposed to expire March 12," Perez said, "but we pushed it back to July because of the state's request. We continue to work with families, the state, and nonprofit organizations to help them in any way we can to return to permanent housing."

FEMA has sent out several letters to residence on the island still living in temporary housing.

Mary Colunga, who has lived on the island all of her life, is now living in a trailer that sits a couple of feet away from her original house.

As she walks through her home she has to fight back tears.

"I don't have electricity, running water, no walls... if I could move back in here I would," she said. "This is my home, my rock. This was my father's house. It's paid for. My family grew up here."

She said she's stuck between a rock and a hard place. The hard place is the FEMA trailer.

She has received two letters about rent for the trailer.

"The first one said I would have to pay $800 a month and the second one said around $300."

Lone Star Legal Aid, which helps low-income families who have been effected by Ike, has been helping Mary (and many others like her) with free legal advice.

"We're trying to figure out what the criteria is for the amount people are being charged," said Lone Star Legal Aid attorney Duana Boswell-Lochel. "Many of these people are frustrated, they're depressed, and they're at the end of their rope, ...so hopefully we can help them."


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