Emergency mobile homes sold off in latest federal auction
COBLESKILL The federal government was able to unload 20 more temporary housing units that served as home for flood victims during an auction completed last month.
The U.S. General Services Administration held its third auction of the trailers the Federal Emergency Management Agency brought in to serve those ousted from their homes by tropical storms Irene and Lee. Selling prices ranged from $6,454 to $7,787.
There were roughly 30 housing units remaining at the staging area in Cobleskill late last week — it was unclear Tuesday if any of those had been sold and were awaiting delivery.
The GSA previously sold 45 of the mobile homes, which are meant to be used by their buyers for office space, storage or camps — not residences.
The trailers being sold were used and then vacated by flood victims. Some of the trailers FEMA hauled to Cobleskill never were occupied. Those are to be transported to another staging area for use in future disasters, FEMA officials have said.
The most-recent batch of trailers that were auctioned off were built in 2008 and feature two bedrooms and one bathroom. Manufactured by TL Industries of Ohio, the units cost the federal government $20,000 to $25,000 each.
The recent sale will clear out many of the trailers at the staging area on the lawn of the former Guilford Mills factory site in Cobleskill, but Schoharie County Sheriff Anthony Desmond said he expects more trailers will be circulating back to the site in upcoming weeks and perhaps months.
He said there are approximately 90 temporary housing units still serving flood victims throughout the Schoharie Valley. His department is charged with guarding the stockpiled trailers under a contract with FEMA.
The arrangement turned out to be a benefit to several employees at the Sheriff’s Department which, despite budget difficulties and job cuts enacted for the 2012 year, was able to keep six deputies on the payroll under the contract.
The contract with FEMA includes options for extensions through February 2013.
FEMA officials last year said there were 235 flood victims approved for a trailer. The bulk of those, roughly 156, were victims of Tropical Storm Lee in the Susquehanna Valley.
Flood victims who had sustained at least $19,000 in damage and planned to rebuild were offered a temporary housing unit for up to 18 months.