FEMA's disaster trailer tab: up to $150K, 18 months of use

The federal government typically spends up to $150,000 apiece on the trailers it leases to disaster victims, then auctions them for pennies on the dollar after 18 months of use or any sign of minor damage.

That's not even including utilities, maintenance or labor.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirms to The Associated Press that disposing of used trailers is a longstanding practice at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It's continued even with almost 8,000 Texas applicants awaiting federal housing help after Hurricane Harvey landed in the Gulf Coast.

FEMA briefly halted trailer sales following Harvey but resumed in November. Since then, at least 115 units manufactured this year have been sold for cheap. Many listed such things as dirty mattresses, pet odors or loose trim as the sole damage.