FEMA delivers mobile homes for evacuees

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

VIDALIA, La. &045; The signs in the windows were just a bit misleading.

&uot;FEMA disaster relief for Hurricane Charley.&uot;

But the mobile homes and trailers installed at Donald’s Camper Village in Concordia Parish this week are to be used for Federal Emergency Management relief for Katrina.

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Ten travel trailers and 24 mobile homes are being installed at the park this week.

The Donald family that owns the village doesn’t know who will live there &045; but they are ready to welcome the new tenants.

&uot;We’re pretty laid back here,&uot; co-owner Johnnie Donald said. &uot;We’ve got some real good people in this park. We did it because we knew they needed homes.&uot;

A FEMA spokeswoman said it will be up to the state to determine who lives in the mobile homes.

&uot;FEMA put them there and is negotiating the lease to leave them there,&uot; said Penny Cockerell, spokeswoman for FEMA in Louisiana. &uot;Everything is up in the air until they actually sign the contract on the lease.&uot;

Bill Bouknight of Aiken, S.C., a contractor working with FEMA to deliver the mobile homes, said he’s put 1,500 miles on a rental car since Monday following the trailers to cities in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Bouknight said there is a staging yard in Baton Rouge for the mobile homes.

The homes feature three bedrooms, a kitchen area, living room and one bathroom. Inside are a new sofa and loveseat; tables and chairs; mattresses and dressers in the bedrooms; and all appliances, including a microwave.

Village resident Dorothy Massey looked on as the mobile homes were installed.

&uot;I’m happy for the people,&uot; she said. &uot;They have lost everything they’ve worked for. If people need a place to go, I’m not against it.&uot;

Massey said a few of her neighbors are worried about the influx of people, but she said she is sympathetic.

&uot;We’re lucky it didn’t come through here,&uot; Massey said.

Co-owners Regina and Gerard Donald, Johnnie’s brother, said FEMA has been working to find other places around the South to install the mobile homes, which need access to water and sewer and electricity.

&uot;There are good things happening,&uot; Regina said.

But the Donalds emphasized that they have no control over who will live in the new homes.

They encouraged evacuees to register with FEMA for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.