This is a follow-up to my earlier post about FEMA trailers. The other day I heard another NPR report on FEMA trailers, but this time from the perspective of the factory workers who put some of them together in Ohio. They knew that they were asked to provide travel trailers for Katrina victims and they felt very proud for the work they were doing. They had no idea there would be a formaldehyde issue or that the materials in some of the FEMA trailers might make people sick.

One of the comments from one of the workers really struck me deeply. She said nobody ever thanked them for the work they did to provide emergency housing for people in need.

I don’t have a personal connection to anyone with a FEMA trailer and the only victims I know didn’t lose their homes or have to move because of the storm. I don’t have a connection to anyone who made FEMA trailers. But I do feel like it’s important for people to have safe, healthy, efficient, and sustainable places to live. I am sad that many people live in substandard housing and I do believe that it is not good for someone to have to live in a structure made of materials that can make them sick and consume a lot of energy to keep reasonably comfortable. That said, I want to say “thank you” to anyone who worked on providing affordable housing for people in need, especially the people who worked on FEMA trailers and didn’t get appreciated for what they had to offer. It’s easy to point out after the fact all the ways things could have been done better or differently. Sometimes the best thing in the world is to do what you can with all you’ve got.