Former FEMA storm shelters soon will be awarded

The City of Joplin releases a list, which includes government entities and one business, that details who will soon get some storm shelters that used to be at FEMA’s mobile home park.

But the process of getting these shelters could involve asking for the more affordable price.

The City of Joplin says there were 32 of these storm shelters available to bid on, and a large number of them have already been awarded. But soon, the remaining shelters will be up for grabs.

19-year-old Mikayla Burrow lives in a mobile home park in Joplin.

“Almost every single one of these (homes) have kids,” says Burrow.

Burrow herself has two kids, and they all have been living in a mobile home for about a month now.

“I was kind of sketchy about it,” says Burrow.

But tow’s budget is being met, but her safety plan for a tornado warning is in a whirlwind.

“I would most likely go down to my dad’s, or his parents’. But they live on the other side of Joplin, by Duquesne,” says Burrow. This quick emergency trip amounts to about 20 minutes.

Storm shelters have become a precious commodity to the area.

“I have gotten a lot of phone calls. And no, I’m not surprised,” says Leslie Haase, Finance Director for the City of Joplin.

Haase is facilitating requests to own these storm shelters.

“I think people are keenly aware, and I Think they want to make provisions for bad weather,” says Haase.

FEMA gave up ownership of 36 storm shelters to the State of Missouri. Then the ownership was transferred to the City of Joplin. The city set up three times when the shelters would be given, based on outside requests. In the first round that just wrapped up, 16 shelters were awarded to a group that included the City of Duquesne, the Joplin Special Road District, the Jasper County Children’s Division, and the K-Wood Mobile Home Park.

The mobile home park is where Mikayla Burrow lives.

“I think it would be really awesome,” says Burrow.

City officials say Joplin has two other mobile home parks, and owners there didn’t request these storm shelters.

The city itself also claimed shelters for properties that don’t already have shelters, like the airport, parks department, and golf course.

Now the city is soliciting requests for the remaining 16 shelters, and will first give them to 24-hour care facilities for the “at risk population.”

“Nursing homes and the developmentally disabled facilities,” says Haase.

This window of opportunity will be open for about another 30 days. Then the shelters will be available to day care facilities. The final solicitation period involves any other commercial business in Joplin.

The shelters are free, with the caveat that whoever gets them will organize and pay for transportation and installation, which could cost up to $9,000.

For many, it’s a worthwhile investment.

“An apartment complex, and everywhere, should at least have one,” says Burrow.

For more information on the shelter award process, click here.