Submission addresses critical recovery housing needs for citizens displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
BATON ROUGE, La. (October 23, 2006) - Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco submitted the State's application Friday for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Alternative Housing Pilot Program, often referred to as the Katrina Cottage program. The submission was prepared by the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) and submitted on Governor Blanco's behalf by the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), which will administer the program.
The Alternative Housing Pilot Program is intended to address ongoing housing challenges created by the 2005 hurricane season in the states of the Gulf Coast region, specifically Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas.
The proposal is in response to $400 million appropriated by the U.S. Congress in the 2006 Emergency Appropriations Act for the pilot. In related legislation, Congress authorized a one-time waiver of the Stafford Act, which legally binds FEMA to a temporary housing mission reliant primarily on travel trailers and manufactured homes.
"In all of my appearances before Congress, I brought to Congress' attention the extraordinary amount of money FEMA spends on temporary housing units, and urged them to reconsider their policy to allow flexibility. I asked Congress to allow FEMA to invest in permanent housing solutions. Congress listened, and Louisiana's citizens stand to benefit. Finding long-term housing solutions for displaced citizens continues to be my focus," said Governor Blanco. "These homes are affordable, attractive and can last a lifetime. I believe FEMA will recognize the strength of our proposal and award Louisiana the funds necessary to start this important work right away."
Louisiana's submission focused on the needs of citizens currently being housed in trailers on both individual and group sites, displaced citizens both in-state and the diaspora, and to address the housing needs for the workforce critical to recovery: healthcare, education, hospitality, construction, and first responders.
"We are confident that our proposal meets the central goal of this program - providing safe and comfortable homes to our residents devastated by the storms," said LRA Board Member John T. Landry. "Each unit can be delivered quickly and withstand water and hurricane-force winds while keeping with our South Louisiana architectural traditions."
Projects proposed in the application will leverage grant funds to:
- Encourage homeownership by creating lease-to-own opportunities and homeownership counseling
- Support redevelopment initiatives of government and non-profit entities
- Provide housing for diverse populations - including housing for families, the elderly, and disabled citizens
- Produce cost-effective short and long-term transitional models that improve upon current post-disaster housing
In September, the LRA issued a Request for Ideas (RFI) to gather ideas from the private and non-profit sectors on what to include in the state's application. A national panel of experts was convened in New Orleans on Saturday, October 7 to review the submissions based on FEMA criteria, the commitment to Louisiana's economy and whether the models reflected the architectural traditions of Louisiana. The panel was composed of an Architect/Engineer, Disaster Recovery Specialist, Affordable Housing Expert, Economic Development Specialist, and a Community Development/Preservation specialist.
The national panel recommended six models/projects, five of which are based in Louisiana, to include in the state's application:
Katrina Cottages & Carpet Cottages - Cypress Cottage Partners
This partnership of The Cypress Group, The Shaw Group, ICF International, Duany Plater-Zyberk, and Lowes with architect Marianne Cusato showcases both single-family models and a multi-family model. This project includes infill redevelopment housing in New Orleans in the historic Treme neighborhood, as well as at Jackson Barracks, the headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard. Additional project sites are infill locations in Lake Charles and Abbeville - addressing diverse housing needs, particularly elderly housing for rural aging populations.
Home at Last - Family Resources of New Orleans
This non-profit community housing development organization identified two sites in rural St. Charles Parish that will serve as transitional housing communities for displaced residents of New Orleans. Working in partnership with Skyline Homes and Champion Homes, Family Resources presents a project that is transitional, while also working with modular housing developers to design an alternative solution to group trailer communities.
The Phoenix Systems-Built Home - Fibrebond Corporation
This company is an established, high production capacity firm that builds concrete panel building systems. After Hurricane Katrina, they were essential in adapting their building designs to produce and build many schools throughout the disaster-impacted area. Fibrebond has developed a model home that applies their building system and capacity to the housing market. This home represents an affordable, easily produced and built solution to the challenges of critical post-disaster housing.
SmartPlus® For A Better Built Home - Palm Harbor Homes
This manufacturing company has significant production capacity and designs that have the flexibility to be applicable Louisiana and nationwide. The models in this project represent a cost effective, attractive alternative to the trailer.
Homes Now LLP
This firm is based in Louisiana and partners with Genesis Homes, Inc. a division of Michigan based Champion Enterprises, Inc. Champion operates 36 manufacturing facilities in North America and the United Kingdom. Genesis has developed a series of off-site built homes specifically for the Southern Louisiana market. They can produce 250 homes per month or 2,880 homes per year.
CORE - Plus One
The "CORE" concept from Plus One, an architecture and construction services firm, represents an immediate emergency concept for transitional recovery housing. This CORE is a module of essential services (bathroom, kitchen, utilities) that can be appended to a home being rebuilt for a temporary period. The module can be stockpiled for reuse in the next disaster.
Once FEMA announces a decision, the state will work with the parish and municipal governments or applicable jurisdictions to determine sites, where needed, for the placement of the housing units in the most heavily impacted parishes. The LRA will set the overall housing policy and guidance for the transitioning of displaced citizens into livable homes.
More than 200,000 housing units in Louisiana suffered major or severe damage as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Currently, there are over 85,000 occupied trailers in Louisiana and an estimated need of 96,000. Louisiana has the largest number of occupied trailers both individually and in group sites of any state impacted by the hurricanes of 2005.
For more information on the FEMA Alternative Housing Pilot Program, go to http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=29940.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, killing 1,464 people, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses and inflicting about $25 billion in insured losses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensur! ing integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.