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June 21, 2007




(Biloxi, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour today presented the keys to the first Mississippi Park Model cottage to Biloxi resident Katherine St. Amant, whose Claiborne Street home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.


“The installation of this first Park Model cottage is the latest step in our comprehensive efforts to provide safer alternative housing to coastal residents,” Governor Barbour said. “I am delighted to present these keys to Ms. St. Amant and wish her all the best as she moves into her new home.”


St. Amant, 59, has lived on Claiborne Street for three years, with 18 months of that time in a FEMA-provided travel trailer. She was selected to receive the new Park Model cottage through the Mississippi Alternative Housing Program, a federally-funded demonstration program designed to develop sturdier, more comfortable alternatives to current disaster housing. Eligible applicants were randomly selected from people who live in FEMA-provided disaster housing in the three Gulf Coast counties.


“This is very pretty,” St. Amant said of her new pastel yellow colored unit. “It looks more like a home.”


T.L. Wallace Construction Inc., of Columbia, and Timberline Homes, LLC, of Wiggins, provided landscaping and other home accents for the unit.


Park Model units are about 400-square-feet with one bedroom and a porch. Forest River Housing, Inc. of Elkhart, Ind. will manufacture the first 200 Park Model units, which MEMA anticipates will be installed by Aug. 1.


The Park Model is the first of three Mississippi Alternative Housing units to be produced. To date, 247 individuals or families have been approved for the Park Model unit; 47 have been approved for the two-bedroom Mississippi Cottage unit; and 27 have been approved for the three-bedroom Mississippi Cottage unit.


“Governor Barbour asked that we get these homes built and to families that needed them as quickly as possible. We are very happy that we are making progress in moving individuals and families out of travel trailers and mobile homes and into more substantial housing,” said Mike Womack, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.


The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program, a 24-month demonstration program funded through a $280 million federal grant and administered by MEMA, seeks to develop and evaluate safer and more comfortable alternatives to current disaster housing units for use in future disasters.


To learn more about the Mississippi Alternative Housing Program, visit mscottage.org or call 866-726-MAHP (6247).