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Governor Announces Details of Alternative Housing Project
From: Office of the Governor    Filed 1/10/07  GCN

(Jackson, Mississippi) - Governor Haley Barbour today announced additional information regarding the state's Alternative Housing Pilot Program that was granted more than $280 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Under this plan some FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes would be replaced with more sustainable alternative housing, which Mississippi's plan identifies as Park Models, Mississippi Cottages, and Green Mobile units. The Governor's Office is hosting meetings this week with local and state officials of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties concerning the program. 

"I am pleased that Mississippi will lead the country in this pilot project to demonstrate that safer and more livable emergency housing can be produced for victims of major natural disasters," Governor Barbour said.

The housing models are designed as direct replacements for some FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes that include:

*The Park Model design is similar in size and shape to travel trailers currently in use, but has several amenities and design                                                                features that create a more livable environment.

*The Green Mobile unit is designed to maximize energy efficiency and increase affordability. The Green Mobile utilizes daylight and natural ventilation, durable materials that significantly reduce the need for the electrical heating and cooling of the unit, and site design features that orient the building relative to solar heating and prevailing winds.

*The Mississippi Cottage - a larger unit - shares some similarities with what has been termed the "Katrina Cottage," but has several design differences that were created during the state's design charette for the Alternative Housing Pilot Program.

During the charette, the state collaborated with an expert team of architects and organizations including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State University, the Federation of American Scientists, and the architectural firm Looney Ricks Kiss.

Selection criteria are currently being established for Mississippi Gulf Coast residents interested in replacing their FEMA travel trailer or mobile home with an approved Green Mobile unit, Mississippi Cottage or Park Model. Once the selection criteria has been created, current temporary housing tenants will be notified through mailouts, flyers, public meetings and the use of multiple media channels. Announcements will also be posted on www.governorbarbour.com/recovery.

"The progress Mississippi has made to date in recovery, and therefore, our readiness to implement our proposals uniquely qualifies us for this pilot project," said Gavin Smith, director of the Governor's Office of Recovery and Renewal.  "We developed the original design concept of alternative emergency housing following Hurricane Katrina.  This project represents part of a long-term effort on behalf of the state to systematically address emergency housing needs."

The Green Mobile, Mississippi Cottage and Park Model proposals, all of which have been approved for funding, can be viewed online at http://www.governorbarbour.com/recovery/alternativehousing.htm.

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