we found that FEMA’s mismanagement of the commercial site we investigated has lead to substantial waste.
The majority of FEMA housing units in Mississippi are located on private properties where individuals are rebuilding their homes. According to FEMA, almost 14,000 of the 17,608 units currently in Mississippi are located on private sites, while the remainder are located at group or commercial sites. We estimate that, on average, FEMA will spend approximately $30,000 for the life cycle of a trailer placed at one of these private sites. As shown in figure 3, FEMA paid about $14,000 to purchase each 280 square foot trailer and $12,000 to haul the trailer to the site and install it, and will spend an additional $4,000 to maintain a private site trailer through the March 2009 temporary housing occupancy extension. Our estimate is likely understated because we did not have access to the trailer maintenance and group site maintenance payments made to the original four contractors. We also could not calculate MD phase-in costs, nor could we project deactivation expenses because it is not certain which of the current MD contractors will be responsible for deactivating the trailers in 2009.
Figure 3: Estimated Costs for a Trailer at a Private Site through March 2009
In contrast, as shown in table 4 and the subsequent figures, FEMA could spend from about $69,000 to $229,000 for trailers at the three group sites we investigated, when factoring in all known expenses, including costs incurred by the original four contractors for site design and construction and unit installation. Part of the reason for these extreme expenses is that FEMA failed to efficiently allocate work at the sites. For example, FEMA wasted about $800,000 by inefficiently allocating trailers and pads and also could not explain why it spent over $204,000 per year to lease one group site when most of the other parks only cost about $30,000 per year to lease.
GAO-08-106 Hurricane Katrina