Just before Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, the federal government was auctioning off used disaster-response trailers at fire-sale prices.
Now Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say Harvey could become the agency’s largest-ever housing mission.
Critics say that mission has been hindered by the auction of trailers that could be refurbished.
Harvey damaged or destroyed about 210,000 homes. FEMA says grants will be available for quick repairs, and that trailers are intended only as a last resort. But more than a third of Harvey-affected homes were so inundated as to make them uninhabitable.
Those homeowners could benefit from the temporary use of a FEMA trailer. But the auctions have left the agency with only 1,700 units – far short of the expected demand for them.