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FEMA delivers on flood housing

by: Submitted, A small group of onlookers watch the first FEMA delivery of manufactured homes in Vernonia on Monday. Delivery of the homes was delayed due to testing for formaldehyde levels following discovery of the known preservative in FEMA trailers in the Gulf Coast region. Testing so far has found only negligible formaldehyde levels.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday delivered seven manufactured homes to the city of Vernonia for occupation by victims of the December flood.

'We have 39 families waiting for mobile homes right now,' said Denise Everhart, and external affairs officer for FEMA.

A total of 26 FEMA mobile homes are slated for Vernonia. State testing for levels of fermaldehyde, which was discovered at unsafe levels in some Gulf Coast FEMA trailers following Hurricane Katrina, has delayed the deliveries.

A second delivery of seven trailers is expected next week, Everhart said. The site can hold 21 of the three-bedroom homes, and negotiations are currently underway for additional land to site the remaining structures. If demand continues, additional homes can be trucked in from other parts of the United States, a FEMA spokesperson said.

FEMA contracted with Environmental Testing Inc. to run formaldehyde tests on the homes. So far, the results show levels consistent with a newly constructed wood-frame home, Everhart said.

Thirteen homes have been tested to date, and all homes delivered to Vernonia have shown negligible formaldehyde levels.

'The first 13 have come back with very low levels of formaldehyde,' Everhart said.

The homes come equipped with dishes and linens. People living in the home have 18 months from the time of the disaster declaration, in this case Dec. 9, to live in the FEMA structures.