Fort Myers Beach’s first FEMA trailer remains empty weeks after delivery

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

After days, weeks, and months of waiting, the first FEMA trailer is at Fort Myers Beach, but the man who is supposed to live in it says it is not ready yet.

Jim Maloney lives just two houses down from where the FEMA trailer has been placed, and he has suffered, waiting 97 days for his own trailer.

“I have to depend on other people’s generosity. And that’s not the type of person I am. I’ve just dropped. I’m bout to go over the edge,” said Maloney, who has been living a nightmare. “Hell. It looked like Vietnam all over again.”

Maloney said living on Fort Myers Beach offered him relief. Then the hurricane hit hard. “I’m suffering from PTSD real bad.”

Maloney said getting an answer from FEMA, let alone getting temporary housing, has been impossible.

Then, two doors down from him, he sees the very first FEMA trailer to be dropped off on Fort Myers beach after Ian.

“What kind of system is this? There’s one two doors away, and now I can’t get one. And no one can answer my questions. It’s very frustrating,” said Maloney.

WINK News was able to get in touch with the man who owns the property where the FEMA trailer sits. He lost half of his home during the hurricane and says the trailer was originally dropped off on December 18.

It took a while to get the water and septic all connected, and there is still work being done to connect the trailer to everything. The stairs leading to the door were not installed right away either. They were built about a week or two after the trailer was dropped off.

The property owner said the trailer might look liveable at the moment, but the unit still does not have power. The owner says he hasn’t been able to get inside the property because it’s still locked.

Maloney, and the man who says he should be living in the trailer, are both playing a waiting game.

“My whole life is falling apart. And just please give me something. Give me hope,” said Maloney.

There are a lot of people on the beach who need hope. If you need help from FEMA and have not already applied, you are running out of time to do so. You have until January 12. You can apply online.

WINK News reached out to FEMA to ask them when more of these trailers might be coming. They have not gotten back with a definitive answer.

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