Standoff in North Dakota: Who Will remove the Flood-damaged Homes

The Minot Daily News reports the apparent standoff in resolving the issue of who is responsible for removing the damaged manufactured housing in Minot following the ravaging floods of last spring has led to frustration on the part of city government, residents, and community owners. Mayor Curt Zimbelman said, “We have been dealing with this for six to eight weeks now. We had our people in place. I will say FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) dragged their feet on this and found every way not to work with us.” State and city officials say they have complied with all the paperwork requirements requested by FEMA to insure the removal of the damaged homes is reimbursed by FEMA and not assessed to MHC owners or homeowners, but to no avail. FEMA spokesman Ed Conley assured the residents they will receive the funding to which they are entitled. “You have challenges like this. We will work through it,” he said. One MHC owner cleared out the last of 97 damaged manufactured homes last week at their own expense. Co-owner Mary Zimmerman said, “We decided we can’t wait. We lose income every month we sit empty.” Another MHC operator continues to wait with 383 factory-built homes that need to be removed. Larry Gullickson, of Oakland Communities, says testing for asbestos, lead and other hazards will need to be done after the homes are removed and before new ones can come in. “As a business, we are losing a tremendous amount of money,” he noted. In addition, sheds and fences are being stolen from the abandoned communities, and transients are beginning to occupy the abandoned homes.

(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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