The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 12, 2013

Our View: Glad to see them gone


The Joplin Globe

— The Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers are now just another detail in Joplin’s history books.

While the nearly 600 units that provided shelter for those left homeless by the May 22, 2011, tornado served a mighty big need in the Joplin area, count us among those who aren’t sorry to see those trailers gone.

That’s because their departure is yet another milestone in the progression of Joplin’s recovery.

The trailer villages on Highway 171 across from the Joplin airport created little feel of community. They were, in fact, a bleak existence for those who survived the tornado but were rendered homeless.

Some quickly found a way to get out, find a place and get their lives back. Others struggled, and some are still struggling.

But no one has turned their backs on anyone who still needs help. And that’s what is key here.

FEMA officials have performed their final inspection, and the last three trailers will either be reused and auctioned off. The federal officials laud Joplin for the timeline in which the occupants of the trailers found housing.

When FEMA officials authorized the trailers to be vacated by November 2012 — 18 months from the date of the state’s disaster declaration — the city of Joplin requested an extension of the deadline to allow for additional construction and development of local housing resources, and the request was granted in mid-October. Rent had to be paid beginning in January with a June 9 deadline for the program to end here.

In our view, that extra time was the key to getting people back into homes.