FEMA Sluggish on Trailers for Disabled

FEBRUARY 7, 2007 - Posted at 3:23 p.m. CST

BATON ROUGE, LA - Four months after FEMA agreed in a court settlement to provide handicapped-accessible trailers to hurricane victims, an advocacy group says 788 people with disabilities are still waiting for their new homes.

FEMA officials said last week that 1,200 of the 2,000 handicapped-accessible trailers it purchased late last summer to meet the terms of the settlement are still sitting in storage yards in Louisiana and Mississippi.  FEMA also stores trailers in Hope, Arkansas.

Nell Hahn, an attorney for the Advocacy Center in Lafayette, Louisisna, has filed a motion in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana alleging that FEMA had violated the terms of the settlement.  She asked the court to enforce the agreement and to order FEMA to submit a corrective plan within 30 days.

Ronnie Simpson, a FEMA spokesman, said he could not discuss any details regarding the case.

Simpson did say that FEMA is trying to take care of those storm victims with special needs.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)