Industry News

Katrina aftermath: Who’s building what

Tragedy sparks new take on affordable homes, federal emergency assistance

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Less than one month before hurricane season begins in the Gulf Coast region there are still thousands of families who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina last summer living in mobile homes that are neither secure nor permanent. Housing rehabilitation and design experts say that while mobile homes were the wrong solution to Katrina's wrath, which destroyed or severely damaged some 500,000 homes, they now pose a new problem as this year's storm season gets underway. "People in mobile homes are in a transition where they are not in an emergency (situation) but still are not moving forward with their lives either," said New York architect Marianne Cusato, principal of Marianne Cusato Architects. Cusato's proposed alternative to the trailers dispersed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is to build 300-square-foot cottages that later can be integrated into the resident's permanent housing. The cottages, which are more attractive than emergency trailers, can be bui...