Life in a FEMA Trailer

Life in a FEMA Trailer

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Lise Harwin
Aug 18, 2008

We recently went to our first Pecha Kucha night, and though we weren't blown away by the presentations, we did see one that gave us pause. We're all familiar with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but have you ever thought for a moment about what living in a FEMA trailer might be like? We'll take you inside, below the jump.

The reality is that these things are small. Really small. And when you consider that residents are packing their entire lives (or what's left of them) into these "temporary" spaces, it can be mind-boggling.

Most trailers are about 300 square feet and are supposed to hold a family of anywhere from four to eight people. The trailers typically consist of a master bedroom (about eight feet square), a living area with kitchen and stove (about 12 feet square), bunk beds, and a tiny bathroom. Each trailer is equipped with electricity, air conditioning, indoor heating, running cold and hot water, a propane-operated stove and oven, a small microwave oven, a refrigerator, and a few pieces of fixed furniture like a sofabed, small table and chairs.

While a roof over your head is certainly better than nothing, packing a large family into one of these spaces for more than a year could just be trauma all over again. A nice alternative, if you could afford it, would be to have your own made. But if you were forced to live in a FEMA trailer, what would you do to make it homey? You can read about one family's experience here.

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