Patience needed at park

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Evacuees staying in FEMA trailers at Oak Mountain State Park say they&8217;ve been told they have to be out as early as April 1.

While the Alabama State Park Service says it has no plans to place deadlines on any of the thousands of evacuees sheltered across the state and FEMA spokesmen say they have given no specific dates to vacate Oak Mountain State Park, the federal agency recently began an agressive push to get evacuees out of emergency housing and into temporary housing.

Evacuees who were told they could be given as long as 18 months at the shelter location are now being encouraged to get out quickly.

While these people certainly need to continue to take the steps necessary to recover from the life-changing disaster, many simply need a little more time to get back on their feet.

With the knowledge they had up to 18 months, they have been working to do just that.

Working with FEMA in filling out the required paperwork is a long and exhaustive process, evacuees say.

And many of those with property damaged in the storm have just recently gotten the opportunity to return and finally survey the situation and begin working to restore their homes and their lives.

A handful of families have even enrolled their children in Shelby County schools. Efforts to rush these families to vacate their temporary homes at Oak Mountain State Park could push these children into yet another school if their families are forced to move to a different location to find temporary housing again.

Let&8217;s not be too hasty in pushing these families to the next step too soon.