Harvey victims stuck with paying permitting fees for FEMA trailers in Houston

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Harvey victims stuck with paying fees for FEMA trailers. (KTRK)

While many municipalities waive permitting fees for FEMA mobile units, the city of Houston charges more than $300.

Sharai Poteet's family is the first to get mobile units within the city.

It's a program that provides Hurricane Harvey survivors with a free mobile unit that goes on their property, so they can work on their flood damaged home.

Poteet had to wait to get her units because the city had an ordinance blocking them, but city council changed it two months ago.

"You're not having to worry about where you're going to stay that night," Poteet said. "Where you're going to cook, how you're going to have dinner. It's a relief."

While she's happy to get inside, she was shocked when she saw Houston's permitting costs.

"I would think, and hope that the city would waive it," Poteet said. "I don't understand why I have to pay a fee to park a trailer on my property. That kind of makes me mad."

FEMA said the majority of jurisdictions have waived fees.

In fact, Friendswood has done just that.

In Dickinson, it waived one permit fee, and charges $50 to the contractor for electrical and plumbing.

In Houston, in order to get a mobile unit, placement, plumbing and electrical fees must be paid, which costs $316.58.

Poteet said FEMA paid for two of the permits, but she was stuck with one.

"It was $100 bucks that could've gone toward something else," Poteet said.

The city said it didn't waive those fees to cover inspection costs.

Permits aren't the only issue blocking mobile units from coming into the city.

FEMA said there are 35 people in mobile units within the limits, but there are 913 people waiting.

The problem the agency said is either people don't have the space on their yard, or the homeowner's association is blocking them.

Right now, FEMA is working to find commercial space for Hurricane Harvey survivors.

Although Poteet wishes she didn't have to spend the money, she's thankful to finally be in the unit.

"It's a relief. It's nice to know you have somewhere to come shower, bath, and cook dinner," Poteet said.

Although some people are waiting for trailers, FEMA said some of the survivors are currently staying in hotels.
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hurricane harveyFEMAgovernmentHouston
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