Katrina Trailers, Mobile Homes in Mississippi Should Be Gone By Fall

January 11, 2010

Thousands of trailers and mobile homes that have dotted the Mississippi landscape since serving as temporary housing after Hurricane Katrina are expected to be gone by early fall.

About 28,000 trailers are scattered among five staging areas in Lamar, Forrest and Marion Counties. The General Services Administration is auctioning them off in large, single lots.

The reduction has been going on for some time, said John Gossman, a housing coordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. After initially offering single lots of 400 to 500 trailers in single auctions at each staging area, multiple sales involving thousands of units are now being held simultaneously in all three counties.

“We’re winding down,” Gossman said.

Buyers will have to conform to GSA guidelines in removing the trailers. Tom Turner, lead sales coordinator for the central region, said that could mean a steady stream of 30 to 50 trailers pulled per day from each of the sites.

Gossman said it likely would be the end of September before the lots are empty.

The trailers and mobile homes range from very good to poor condition. Gossman said some were in such bad shape that they were not offered in the current auction, and will be sold for scrap later this year.

The units had been offered to agencies in the federal government, then to the states before the auctions were opened to the public.

The auctions have not made retailers of recreational vehicles, mobile homes or trailers particularly pleased.

Jimmy Bankston, with Reliable RV in Biloxi, said the government was selling more trailers in one lot than are normally shipped monthly to RV dealers nationally from manufacturers. Issues with formaldehyde used in construction of the trailers is something that buyers need to consider, Bankston said.

“Consumers had better be wary” he said.

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