Earlier this week, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) listed on their website the proposed auction of 13 lots of manufactured homes, travel trailers, and park model homes from FEMA’s temporary housing unit (THU) inventory located in 10 staging/storage locations including Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. These THUs were provided to FEMA in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast.
The auction would include approximately 8,800 manufactured homes, 92,000 travel trailers, and 2,500 park models and groups huge numbers of THUs into lots under a single bid. MHI believes the “fire sale” of these units is a waste of taxpayer dollars and would stifle demand for new MH units. Because most of the THUs have not been properly maintained by FEMA, they may be unsafe for housing purposes and would create huge potential liability exposure for the manufacturers that produced them. A far better use of these units would be for them to be donated to first responders, Indian Tribes and other groups that could retrofit them for their own particular purposes.
MHI is part of a coalition that includes state associations in the affected states, as well as state surplus agencies and the RVIA. Through the use of political pressure, the coalition’s goal is to suspend the mass disposal of THUs and together with other stakeholders, develop a plan for the orderly disposition, through sale or donation, of FEMA’s excess inventory of THUs.
Special thanks go to J.D. Harper of the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association, who has taken a lead role in organizing the coalition’s efforts.