Smaller units replace removed FEMA homes
By Adam Belz
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa —Some flood victims will have to live in cramped quarters as the Federal Emergency Management Agency scrambles to find housing for people while removing 232 mobile homes from Iowa.
In some cases, 14-by-40 foot "park" units will replace the larger mobile homes Lt. Gov. Patty Judge banished from the state because most of them have mold growing inside their external-access water heater compartments.
"Some (people) that were told they would get mobile homes will get a park unit," FEMA spokeswoman Jamilah Fraser said.
About 37 park units have been installed at the Five Seasons Manufactured Home Community on Blairs Ferry Road NE in Cedar Rapids.
"We were only supposed to get 20 -- for elders, singles and the handicapped," Five Seasons Manager Julia Coons said.
Coons is upset because she said some families with children will be asked to live in the park units.
The units consist of a small kitchen, living area and bath room in the middle, and a room for beds on each end of the unit. They are furnished, including linens, dishes and pillows.
On the inside, they look like campers, with wall-to-wall linoleum on the floor.
"Can you imagine living in there with three kids?" Coons said.
She said at least one family with three children has turned it down, opting instead to stay in a family member's basement. Courtney Greene, spokeswoman for Judge, said that concern for the health and safety of Iowans required the mobile homes with moldy water heater compartments be removed.
"She's sorry that people are inconvenienced," Greene said. "This decision was not made lightly. It was not made to add to their struggles right now." Ultimately, the difficulties springing from removal of the mobile homes are FEMA's responsibility, she said.
"We wish that FEMA didn't bring in moldy trailers to Iowa," she said.