The mail carrier brought the registered letter to Jessica Lessard's tiny trailer, along with a sour and foreboding comment: "I hope you got better news than I got," she said.
Lessard, 24, tore open the envelope and felt like crying. The letter was from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It said she and her family had 30 days to leave the flimsy, government-issued box that has been their home since Hurricane Katrina.
Three weeks later, Lessard; her fiance, George Courtney; and their 3-year-old son are still worried, though they have appealed their case. The house they once shared with Courtney's stepfather was ruined by the storm, and they can't afford the Gulf Coast's post-Katrina rents. Nearby relatives are also in trailers or in homes with no room for them.
Lessard's family is one of about 3,000 in Mississippi that have been deemed ineligible for a trailer as FEMA weeds out those Katrina victims who do not meet the qualifications for its emergency housing program.
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