Thousands of residents of the Gulf Coast are unable to exercise their right to return more than four years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall because of a lack of affordable housing. In Mississippi, however, hundreds of federally funded modular homes like those pictured here sit unused because local jurisdictions are employing zoning ordinances that have a discriminatory impact on displaced residents.
After Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designed a program to build cottages that would initially be used as emergency housing, but could eventually be used as modular homes when placed on a permanent foundation. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) received over $270 million in federal funds to build these one, two and three bedroom homes. Although MEMA has built 2,800 of these “Mississippi cottages,” hundreds of them are sitting unused today despite a desperate need for affordable housing for those who are still displaced by the hurricanes.