The number of occupied temporary housing units provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is dropping steadily, as expected after the government agency began charging those still living in the units rent.
It's a good sign.
The number of occupied FEMA units fell to 599 at the end of 2012, down from a high of more than 2,000 units following the massive Souris River flood in 2011. That number of still-occupied temporary homes includes units at group sites in Burlington and Minot, as well as units still in use on private sites.
It's a welcome sign, indeed, whenever we see a temporary housing unit being hauled away from a private location, or another empty unit at a group site. It's a small sign that life is returning to some level of normalcy for displaced residents. Some residents have found new places to live since the flood, relocating after their homes were destroyed. Many residents have chosen to relocate to higher ground, while others have returned to their flooded homes, which are in various states of repair.
The housing units have certainly served their purpose, but we look forward to the day when all FEMA units are gone from the region, with the exception of the units purchased by those living in them. We hope they're not needed again.