Staff and Wire Reports

QUAPAW, Oklahoma – The Quapaw Tribe in Ottawa County is putting 5 mobile homes that were rejected as temporary housing following Hurricane Katrina to good use.

Nearly six years after the storm, the federal government has given many of the homes to American Indian tribes in need of affordable housing. Many of the mobile homes were stored at an airport in Hope, Arkansas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

John Ballard, chief of the Ottawa Tribe in Ottawa County, said his tribe spent an average of $3,000 to acquire each home.

Tribal officials say the trailers will be installed at its elder housing location.  Officials say once a policy is approved by tribal leadership, they expect the 5 mobile homes will be used as emergency housing for tribal members. 

"Three thousand dollars is not too much to pay for a house," Ballard said. "These trailers are a great deal for our tribe. I would take 100 more. I've had people send me pictures and thank-you cards and want to give me their first-born over this stuff. This has made a great impression on peoples' lives."

In the aftermath of the 2005 storm, the government bought thousands of mobile homes and travel trailers for $20,000 to $45,000 each, but the mobile homes proved impractical.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.