OST Working Hard To Bring FEMA Trailers To Pine Ridge
Martin. South Dakota
Tom Crash, Correspondent 13.JUL.07
PINE RIDGE - "We could use 4,000 plus homes here on Pine Ridge," said Paul Iron Cloud, past tribal president and executive director of housing and current member of tribal president John Steele's management team, "I just finished a conference call with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and we have until July 11 to put together a letter and background information on the need for homes we have here on Pine Ridge. The Bureau will look at all of the requests and the back up information and decide by the end of July on a formula to distribute the mobile homes."
There are thousands of vacant FEMA trailers sitting on lands in Arkansas and Texas. Originally the trailers were built and purchased to house people left without homes from the hurricanes in Louisiana and Mississippi but regulations prohibited placing the homes in flood plains on the Gulf Coast.
Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota led a legislative initiative to allow FEMA to sell or donate the trailers to reservation communities. A study released in 2003 stated that there were approximately 90,000 Indian families homeless or living in sub-standard housing.
"There are over 200 tribes that have expressed interest in applying for the FEMA trailers," said Iron Cloud, "in HUD's Region VI there are 27 housing authorities that have expressed interest."
The Bureau is expected to have a formula put together by the end of July and once the distribution plan is in place, tribe's will have 15 days to move the trailers.
"It is my understanding that it will cost about $16,000 to move each trailer and set it down, anchor it and skirt it," said Iron Cloud, "we are looking at enough money to afford about 270 trailers, that would be 30 per district, we are working with Rural Development, looking at rewriting the tribe's bond, asking Shakopee for help and working on a proposal to the Indian Health Service."
According to Iron Cloud, the tribe plans to send a delegation to Arkansas to look at the trailers after July 11 but he adds we just do not know how many will be given to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
"John Steele would like to request as many as 300 but depending on the Bureau's formula, we could get anywhere from five to 350," said Iron cloud, "once we know how many we will receive, it will be up to the council to determine how many will go to each district and how they will be distributed in the district."
At the present time, Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing manages 1,700 homes on the reservation; housing has 27 new home ownership houses that have not been completed and 52 Ellsworth units that have been sitting in the housing yard in Kyle for over a year and a half waiting for a decision on how they will be distributed and completed.
"We are doing everything we can to put together as much resources as possible for these trailers," said Iron Cloud, "we have been getting all kinds of calls about the trailers, how many we are going to get, how will they be distributed on the reservation but we are dependent on the Bureau and the formula they put together so we just do not know how many the tribe will receive - we will let people know as soon as we can and we have asked for a compilation of all of the available tribal land in each district, we have to be ready to move on this as soon as possible.”
JUL 23 • Be careful taking these trailers! Housing is needed, I agree but these trailers are filled with dangerous chemicals, mold and mildew. The Lakota people deserve houses of their own - not rejects from Mississippi that make children ill with respiratory problems and cause cancer.
There is a story about these trailers in Clarion Ledger at:http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?
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