Some of the people left homeless by the Joplin tornado could be placed in rental homes nearly an hour's drive away, and if enough homes are not available, FEMA says it will consider bringing in trailers. FEMA's first option for housing the thousands of displaced is to find them existing rental housing within a 55-mile radius of Joplin, because there isn't much housing left in in the city of nearly 50,000 residents that was left badly damaged by the May 22 tornado.
Spokeswoman Susie Stonner says that despite the distance, putting people in permanent housing is preferable to trailers, especially in an area prone to tornadoes and severe weather. "Wouldn't you prefer to be in a stable building over a mobile home?" she asked. Stonner also noted that getting things like water, sewer lines, and developing pads for trailers would take substantial time. Temporary housing will be made available for up to 18 months. (Read more FEMA stories.)