Questions about FEMA trailers remain unanswered for those in need

Published: November 17, 2022 10:11 PM EST
Updated: November 17, 2022 10:31 PM EST

Seven weeks after Hurricane Ian and people still need places to live. WINK News discovered there are empty trailers in the area, but they’re not ready to be handed out.

The state said they’re working on getting the trailers out to people who need them. At the same time, a group of people said they’ve been asking FEMA for help that’s not here.

No one from the state or the federal government is answering questions about what’s next.

Jody Mann and her husband, Bobby, know what it’s like to lose everything.

“After the hurricane, we were basically, we lost both our vehicles, we lost our house, walking for about two and half weeks completely,” said Bobby Mann.

The Noel family lost everything after their house was struck by lightning.

“The house was burned completely, we lost cars, we lost all of our personal belongings. Everything was gone,” said Jillian Noel.

Those were just two of the several stories WINK News heard from people in Saint James City who are waiting for help. Each story is heartbreaking.

“This was our primary residence because we retired, and you know, this was it sold everything back we had in Missouri, so now we’re stuck with an unlivable place,” said Gary Gantseh.

All of these people need a place to live.

“We’re staying with friends and different folks here. And they’re just moving around. Yeah, because we can even in the car when we need to,” said Mann.

Just miles away in Charlotte County, countless trailers sit on an empty lot.

WINK News wanted to find out who they belonged to, so we reached out to the county, which said they belonged to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The state says they don’t own them yet.

How long will it take for people to get the trailers, why has it taken so long to secure the trailers, and how much longer do people have to wait once they have the trailers secured? WINK News was unable to get an answer from any of the officials we asked.

For all the people who are waiting on FEMA, there aren’t any trailers for them yet. For those folks, FEMA says they are still planning, calling it “Pre-placement” for trailers.

As for all of the empty trailers in Charlotte County, WINK News is still working to confirm who owns them, and who gets to sleep in them.