Anyone Want To Buy A FEMA Trailer?

FEMA has some used trailers (41,000 of them) to sell and so far, they’ve been netting “about 40 cents on each dollar spent by taxpayers,” according to the Washington Post.

That’s OK, because taxpayers can get a good deal on a trailer if they need one, right? Nah. FEMA is selling the trailers 300 at a time to RV Dealers so they can be resold to consumers for profit. From the Washington Post:

“As you can imagine, a public auction of so many vehicles could devastate the market for travel trailers,” Michael A. Molino, president of the 2,700-member Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association, said in a letter Friday to FEMA Director R. David Paulison.

Molino’s group and the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds asked last week that the trailers be sold in lots of five or more so dealers can buy and resell them. Both groups said that selling directly to consumers could pose safety hazards if adequate training is not provided.

FEMA is working with the General Services Administration, the federal government’s real estate arm, to auction trailers in batches of about 300 at a time “so we do not flood the market or harm business,” FEMA spokeswoman Deborah Wing said.

So we guess the real question is, does anyone want to buy a FEMA trailer… again? —MEGHANN MARCO

FEMA Taking Hit on Sale of Surplus Trailers [Washington Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I wonder if there is any water damage…

  2. crayonshinobi says:

    I posit that a glut of used trailors, most probably treated rather poorly by their previous tenants, will devastate the travel trailor market.

  3. The Bigger Unit says:

    Shouldn’t we get them “back” for free? Our tax money paid for them after all!

    Haha…good joke, I know.

  4. WindowSeat says:

    Pray tell, what is the training/safety issues involved in used trailer ownership?

  5. NeoteriX says:

    Our taxpayer dollars at work: padding the wallets of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association

  6. Sudonum says:

    These are/were unused trailers that have been sitting in storage since they were purchased by FEMA. I think its ridiculous that the “RV Industry” is going to profit from the sale of these trailers at least twice, possibly three times. If they are worried about the “glut” why don’t they accept them as “returns” and give us taxpayers back full credit paid for them. Or even take out a 30% “re-stock” fee. If they don’t want to do that then sell them individually to the highest bidder, whether that bidder is an RV dealer or a private individual.

  7. mopar_man says:

    I don’t know if people are trained when they buy them but I’ve seen my fair share of people who have no idea how to back a trailer into a camping space.

  8. niccernicus says:


    In regards to training on an RV, wouldn’t it be fair to say that the majority of SUV/large truck owners could use a training session themselves? Why start now?

  9. niccernicus says:

    Driver’s license? check
    Check cleared? check
    Keys? giddyup!

  10. Kos says:

    I’d like to see some architect and engineering students buy a pack of them and doing something fun with ’em…kind of like here:

    and here:

    Of course, you can’t stack them up… or can you?

  11. Trick says:

    Darn! I just filled up my ’95 Mercury Sable and was looking for some of those trailer towing mirrors! Now I find out I may not be qualified to buy one of dem femur trailers?

    It is a sad day indeed when a man, his live-in wife and five kids can’t go down to the local trailer lot and buy a damn trailer.

    I still have money left on my femur debit card!

  12. forgeten says:

    Good to know that we finally found a way to stop natural disasters so there will be now use for the them in the future

  13. jeffisme says:

    This is actually a very scary article. As a recent piece in The Nation pointed out, many of the FEMA trailers were constructed with materials that were soaked formaldehyde, prompting many residents to become sick.

    If anyone is seriously interested in buying one of these, they should do a careful check first of the trailer’s construction.

  14. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    RVs and boats have horrible resale value. A 60% loss after a couple of years and hard use isn’t surprising.

  15. niccernicus says:


    Not like we could find a way to get them there, in the event of a disaster.

    Which came first, the trailers or the ice?

  16. emjsea says:

    I wonder if they will bother telling the consumers that the trailers were FEMA trailers? Yeah, funny question. Sorry to make everyone laugh their beverage out their noses.

  17. silverlining says:

    Ummmm… there are people who haven’t moved back to New Orleans because they haven’t gotten their FEMA trailers yet, and their homes are too moldy to live in.

    Why on earth does FEMA think they have *extra* trailers???

  18. critical_matt says:

    Heh. I saw lot of em while I was working Katrina. Perhaps they should use them to shore the the damn levies in New Orleans.

  19. Schminteresting says:

    You know, the sad part of this all is that those trailers could be used to help the people who have lost their homes in the recent tornados. Doesn’t that qualify for help by FEMA?

    Apparently not. I just watched Rep. Mike Ross (4th District, Alabama) on C-SPAN the other evening talking about the town of Dumas, AL and the 150 families who have no place to live after a tornado ripped through the town.

    Three hours away from Dumas (in Hope, AR) idly sits 8,400+ brand new fully-furnished FEMA trailers, unused. For days and days and days, Rep. Ross, Gov. Beebe and others have been trying to convince FEMA to step up and send just 150 of those trailers for use by those folks in Dumas. Sounds reasonable, no?

    Almost two weeks have passed. Nothing’s been done.

    Talk about a waste of our money – FEMA itself is a national disaster.

  20. AtomikB says:

    You’re right, silverlining! FEMA should be either giving those trailers to homeless disaster victims, or saving them for the next disaster.

  21. Falconfire says:

    @silverlining: Because FEMA is ran like every other government agency in the Bush administration has been ran.

    A for profit organizaiton using taxpayers dollars.

  22. junkmail says:

    Because FEMA is ran like every other government agency in the Bush administration has been ran.

    A for profit organizaiton using taxpayers dollars.

    Oh yeah, blame THAT on Bush, because every other administration in the history of this country wouldn’t THINK of such atrocities…

  23. Falconfire says:

    @junkmail: Every other administration had. Bush’s admin cut FEMA’s budget as soon as he entered office only to lack everything needed FOR a actual disaster.

    But thats neither here nor there.

  24. forgeten says:


    true, but thats just a matter of the supply channel being farked up, which can be fixed. And selling the trailers isn’t really going to fix that.

    And anyway , the whole thing about it causing a glut in the market is silly , its gonna cause movement along the supply curve who ever you sell it too. I guess the trailer maker assoc.’s lobbyist are not as powerful as the Dealers. Since they the ones that are going to be hurt.

  25. Youthier says:

    Oh good. Now I can tell my husband that I won’t camp for political reasons.

  26. Techguy1138 says:

    I think it will be easier for FEMA to distribute the trailers in groups so that is a good idea.

    What I don’t like that fact that a specific industry is getting first crack at a tax payer financed resource. The govenment shoudl be giving us taxpayers an equal chance at them as any business. The Katriana displaced should get first crack at owning them to have a place to live while their homes are being rebuilt.

    Of all the good that these trailers can do selling them to rv dealers is the least. Even destroying them would have a better effect.

  27. Elaine Chow says:

    Yeah, i wouldn’t touch any of these trailers with a tent-foot-pole, even if FEMA was giving them away for free.

    I think they are the same type that was given to families in Louisiana, where the southern heat caused the cheap plastic to release tons of formeldahyde and benzene into the air, resulting in huge health problems for people who’d already been screwed over financially by the Hurricane.

    Maybe there’s so many because word got out and people realized they’d rather sleep under the open sky than in one of these toxic coffins.

  28. Americana says:

    “A for profit organizaiton using taxpayers dollars.”

    As a libertarian, I wouldn’t actually mind that – but it’s not what they’re doing.

  29. weeblewobblez says:

    Who says’ you can’t buy one of them thar femur homes on wheels? Florida is chock full of them…

  30. xenth says:


    “The Katriana displaced should get first crack at owning them to have a place to live while their homes are being rebuilt.”

    Apparently this has already happened. There are lots of trailers down there which people have purchased for fulltime use. Makes for some nasty looking trailer parks.

  31. thegarrs says:

    Unbelievable how everyone likes to criticize the government’s and anyone else’s efforts on anything nowadays. I would love to see all of you just float down a river with no help and no place to live afterwards if your city was hit by a storm! Or better yet, move to another country! Honestly people. Fema is not the devil. I just bought one of those campers. It was one that was bought off a dealer lot, not a “Fema made spec”. It is beautiful and my family will enjoy camping in it for years to come. I feel like I gave back to our wonderful US of A government that keeps my freedoms and life enjoyable for me and my family. I’m sorry you have to be so negative. All of my positive and happy to live in the US neighbors (educated by the way!) all want one too. Praise God for this country and Fema who provided all those homeless people with shelter. Hope you never need it.