The much anticipated FEMA travel trailers have hit the ground in Pender County.

After a long process of applying for direct housing, some Hurricane Florence survivors have been surprised to find they can’t get into their trailers because they were not given the keys.

“The trailers need to be hooked up to electricity, they need to be hooked up to other utilities, and then there is a process to help people get into those,” FEMA spokesperson John Mills said Tuesday. “In the meantime, people can use their rental assistance money to rent a place to live temporarily until FEMA can license them into the temporary travel trailers.”

Once a contractor places a FEMA trailer on private property or at a mobile home park, there are several steps to be completed before the occupant can use it.

When FEMA installs a temporary travel trailer on a resident’s private property, the cost for electric and other utilities is the responsibility of the resident. If the trailer is installed at a commercial mobile home park, FEMA will pay for electric and other utilities since it is included in FEMA’s lease agreement with the commercial park.

FEMA may ask the individual to obtain local permits for placement and electric. Utilities such as electricity and water must also be hooked up to the trailer.

The unit is not considered inhabitable until the contractor has completed setup and the unit has been inspected. Once the inspection is complete, a FEMA representative will call the individual to schedule an appointment to sign the license-in agreement.

An individual will only be given keys to a FEMA travel trailer after all these steps are completed.

“The trailers are not occupied until they are hooked up to electricity and until they’re hooked up to other utilities,” Mills said. “It’s not as simple as just dropping them off and handing over the keys. Safety is an important concern and site surveys are also done to make sure the temporary travel trailers are in a location that is safe, such as not being in a very high risk flood zone.”

Mills said every few days a FEMA spokesperson should be in contact with people waiting to get into their FEMA trailers. If you received a FEMA trailer and have not heard from a FEMA representative in the past 72 hours, call 919-405-7228.

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.