Montgomery, Ala. -- The U. S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that eligible FEMA travel trailer occupants may now purchase their unit. As part of the recent announcement to extend housing assistance past August 31, 2007, FEMA also announced it would begin selling travel trailers to current occupants of these units. The "Sales to Occupants" program allows families currently living in FEMA temporary housing units to purchase them.
FEMA has written a letter to all current travel trailer occupants asking if they may be interested in purchasing their housing units. If interested, applicants will sign and return to FEMA a "Notice of Interest in Purchasing Temporary Housing Unit" form. Once FEMA receives a signed notice of interest, FEMA sales managers will begin contacting interested families to provide instructions on the sales process and its requirements. All sales will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
"Sales managers will work with the interested applicants to answer questions and help them through the purchase process," said Robert Ives, director of the FEMA Alabama Transitional Recovery Office. "This sales program is an important part of Alabama's recovery effort and gives those families who wish to purchase their trailer the opportunity to do so."
Returning a signed notice of interest form to FEMA does not bind the applicant. If an applicant tells FEMA he or she is interested, it doesn?t mean the applicant is required to purchase the unit. At the same time, an applicant who currently is not interested in purchasing their unit may change his or her mind. If this is the case, FEMA will work with those persons at that time.
Upon completion of the sale, the applicant or members of the applicant?s household will no longer be eligible to receive FEMA housing assistance under the federally declared disaster for which the unit was provided, in this case, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Applicants who do not wish to participate in the sales program will continue to be eligible to stay in their units as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for temporary housing assistance while that assistance is provided.
"The state of Alabama believes this will be a good program to ensure continued recovery from Hurricane Katrina," said Bruce Baughman, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
"Our joint efforts with FEMA have resulted in great progress, but even those who purchase travel trailers should understand these units are only temporary and should be considered as such."
Eligible families must purchase the FEMA-provided unit they are currently occupying and units will be sold "as is" with no stated or implied warranties.
The sales prices will vary based on several factors including the type of unit, whether the unit was originally new or used, and the number of months the occupants lived in the unit. Other costs, such as state sales tax, hazard and flood insurance, local permit fees, and any costs associated with moving the unit may apply and are the purchaser's responsibility.
Under the guidelines established for this sales program, participants in the previous unit sales programs who are still interested in purchasing their unit must still sign and return the notice of interest. FEMA sales caseworkers will continue to process those special cases.
Occupants purchasing their unit must also:
- Pay all applicable state sales taxes and any other applicable costs;
- Accept all responsibility and liability;
- Obtain local permits or inspections and provide copies to FEMA, as required;
- Comply with local floodplain management codes if the selected site is located within the 100-year floo...