Katrina and Inaccessible FEMA Trailers - February 5, 2006


Universal Design advocates around the world offered their expertise to FEMA and their subcontractors. Here is an article from the Clarion Ledger dated February 5, 2006 that demonstrates the mismanaged opportunity more clearly than the many article in the Rolling Rains Report.

Polly Tribble, matt Nalker, and Christy Dunaway write:

Our first experience with travel trailers on the Gulf Coast was that people with disabilities were requesting them, but not receiving them. After months of asking, in December 2005, we were finally able to tour travel trailers and mobile homes being issued by FEMA to people with disabilities.

Contrary to Mr. Russo's claims, the travel trailer is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. FEMA representatives told us that it was an "ADA-friendly trailer." There is no way someone who uses a wheelchair could live in one of these travel trailers: The bathroom is not accessible, nor is the kitchen.

On Dec. 14, 2005, FEMA informed us there were 18 ADA-friendly trailers, 179 "park model" mobile homes and 340 ADA 70-foot mobile homes being occupied for a total of 537 - not the 950 Mr. Russo claims to have in place.

We contend that these mobile homes are not ADA accessible either, as there is limited space to turn a wheelchair, unreachable thermostats, unstable shower chairs, and many other unacceptable aspects. And, the mobile home parks and "tent cities" are paved with gravel which creates a big problem for users of wheelchairs.

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