TUNKHANNOCK TOWNSHIP — A year and a half after the historic flooding of 2011, there are still flood victims living in temporary trailers provided by the federal government. But starting Tuesday, people living in those FEMA trailers will have to start paying for them. The end of the free federal housing program is here.
It’s pretty lonely at the corner of Sassafras Drive and Hornbeam Circle near Tunkhannock. There is only on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailer left in what was a mobile home park full of them, built after the historic flooding in 2011.
Barbara Sala and her two dogs are the only ones there, still living in a government trailer a year and a half later.
“It’s been hell,” she said.
Sala showed us notifications she recently received from FEMA explaining that her time living there free of charge is over.
There aren’t many flood victims still in FEMA trailers throughout our area, but those who are received letters.
March 12 was the deadline to be out of their free temporary housing, but now the government will allow Sala and the others to stay through September, if they pay rent.
“It’s difficult! I don’t know how I’m going to do it because my rent is $800 and my Social Security is $800.”
Newswatch 16 met Barbara Sala right after the flood in September 2011. She showed us her wrecked home in Falls. She lost everything and had to rebuild.
“I mean I’m thankful for what FEMA has done for everybody here, but as you see, I’m the only trailer and there were 80 and I just want my home and I don’t know why it’s taking so long.”
While the river has caused Sala all kinds of grief, she is planning to move back to her riverfront property. She’s just waiting for her house here to be done.
“I just want my home!”
The contractor tells us there have been some unexpected administrative delays getting Sala’s new house finished, but says he’s working hard to get her in soon.
In the meantime it’s just Sala and the dogs left in the FEMA mobile home park in Wyoming County.
“It’s been terrible but at least I’m on this side of the ground.”
FEMA does allow flood victims to appeal, trying to get reduced rent in the trailers. Sala said she has applied for that.